Bill Viola: Inner Journey
Amos Rex and Bill Viola Studio are delighted to present acclaimed video and installation artist Bill Viola’s first solo exhibition in Finland. Bill Viola’s immersive projections of mythically flowing waters and fires fill Amos Rex’s underground exhibition spaces. Bill Viola: Inner Journey is on view from 22 September 2021 to 27 February 2022.
American Bill Viola (b. 1951) is one of the most acclaimed video and installation artists of our time. Over the course of his forty-five-year career, Viola has created an emotionally expressive body of work informed by art history, culture and religion. His works explore key themes of human existence: birth, life and death, and spirituality.
In the subterranean exhibition rooms of Amos Rex, Viola’s artistic register is on full display. Bill Viola: Inner Journey presents twelve works from the artist’s later period 1994–2015 and the video game The Night Journey, a collaboration between Bill Viola Studio and USC Game Innovation Lab. Alongside large immersive projections, the exhibition features serene installations of people lying submerged in water, intense expressions of spiritual rebirth, as well as smaller, intimate works that portray emotions and inner states.
Metaphors of journeying and water recur throughout the exhibition. Viola often refers to life as an endless journey. Moving through darkened exhibition spaces, you encounter evocative works that express and ponder different layers of consciousness and stages of human life, and what it means to exist and to have existed. Viola uses metaphors and visual language such as light and darkness, water and fire, to create open-ended works that reach towards the unknown, bringing visitors into a personal, reflective experience.
The exhibition is curated by Amos Rex’s Senior Curator Itha O’Neill.
American Bill Viola (b. 1951) is one of the most acclaimed video and installation artists of our time. Through his ground breaking work, Viola has paved the way for the emergence of video- and media art as an established, recognised form of art.
Viola began working with video in the early 1970s and contributed along with artists such as Nam June Paik and Peter Campus to establishing video art as a contemporary art form. Early on Viola recognised the unique potential of the new medium to explore human consciousness, inner states and the passage of time.
Viola’s works carry a strong charge of emotions. They explore the fundamental themes of human existence: birth, life and death, spirituality and introspection. His works are often stretched through extreme slow motion to reveal hidden folds of time – or brought into a continuous loop echoing the cyclical nature of existence.
Bill Viola’s works are presented all over the world and are included in major institutional collections such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Tate Modern in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris and The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
The Night Journey
an art game
The Night Journey is an art game by Bill Viola and USC Game Innovation Lab that you can play at the exhibition.
The game takes place in a mysterious landscape on which darkness is falling. There is no one path to take, no single goal to achieve, but the player’s actions will reflect on themselves and the world, transforming and changing them both. If they are able, they may slow down time itself and forestall the fall of darkness. If not, there is always another chance; the darkness will bring dreams that enlighten future journeys.
This is a guidebook for your journey through the exhibition. It contains an introduction to the exhibition, the artist’s own descriptions of the works and an essay, as well as a floor plan to help you navigate the space. You’ll find it also at the exhibition space for free.
The silent tour takes place in the museum before regular opening hours, allowing you to experience Viola’s art without the distraction of mobile phones, chatter or other disturbances. Let the elements and movements in the works guide your breathing and ground you in the moment. Where do you begin and where do you end?