Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Fall Into Paradise
copyright 2005 Bill Viola. Photo: Kira Perov
All works of art, though visible, represent invisible things.
~ Bill Viola
Bill Viola is an American artist who has worked for many years with video, creating sound/image projections that often fill huge spaces. In an uncanny way, his work taps into very primal human emotions and themes. On London's Tate Modern website I recently came across a talk Viola gave at the Tate in June 2006. I don't think I have ever heard an artist better explain the connection between art and spirituality. If you can make the time to listen, I think you'll find it rewarding:
In this first excerpt from the lecture he is speaking about holy texts like the Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, etc.:
They’re written in a form of language which is addressing something that is ultimately unknowable. And they’re describing experiences and situations which themselves are sort of ineffable. And so the way they’re written is this open-ended way; it’s no coincidence that King James, when he was translating the Bible, decided to hire poets to do the translating and the writing into English, because that comes closest to this way of touching something without disturbing it; without shining a bright light on it and blinding it or evaporating it.
Some further excerpts:
You get to a point where you’re staring at the blank page or the blank canvas long enough and you just have to get off your butt and do something, you have to start...just getting going is so important; once you take some steps you start on the path, even if it’s an unknown path—all of a sudden you’re not here, you’re there, and there has a different view—different angles of view—than here does. So you’re automatically in a more creative kind of space.
Artists must be able to fall...you must be able to step off the ledge and not worry if there’s rocks under the surface, where you’re going. And that’s the only way that you’ll actually go forward...you just go on faith, blind faith.
Here's a link to a segment of a Viola video called "The Passing:"