Bill Viola

Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

The theme of this exhibition of Bill Viola’s work was nothing less than birth and death. Entitled “Unseen Images,” it brought together seven installations. The central work was Nantes Triptych (all works 1992), in which he projected images of the slow birth of his child, his dying mother, and lastly of himself under water. In order to understand the significance of these images of birth and death, the other installations must be considered.

Heaven and Earth and The Sleepers can also be understood as variations on his fundamental theme. In the former, two black and white monitors hung vertically. The one placed above the other projected a close-up of his dying mother, the lower one the new-born child. He utilized a similar juxtaposition in Threshold: on the outside the news was broadcast on an electronic readout, but through the narrow entrance in a dark room larger-than-life figures were

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.