Bill Viola. Stations. 1994

Bill Viola Stations 1994

  • Not on view

Stations comprises five video projections, each displaying a nude figure suspended in water, accompanied by a lulling soundtrack of underwater gurgles and murmurs. Floating heads-down, the figures drift slowly out of the image frames. Their reflections in the polished slabs of granite placed at the foot of each screen give the impression of figures swimming in pools of black liquid. The thirteenth-century Persian poet Jahal al-Din Rumi, a favorite author of the artist, proclaimed: “With every moment a world is born and dies. And know that for you, with every moment comes death and renewal.” Likewise, in Stations there is no ending or beginning—every instant is a meditation on the continual cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

Gallery label from Out of Time: A Contemporary View, August 30, 2006-April 9, 2007.
Additional text

Stations is composed of five video projections (three are pictured here), each displaying a nude figure suspended in water, accompanied by a lulling soundtrack of underwater hums and deep basal drones. Floating heads down, the figures drift slowly out of the image frames. Their reflections in the polished slabs of granite at the foot of the screens give the impression of figures swimming in pools of dark liquid. In this work there is no beginning or end.

Viola is an investigator of the world of illusion and its makeup. He feels close to the visionary eighteenth-century poet and artist William Blake, and identifies with that protean creator's metaphysical travails. The eight-hundred-year-old poetry of the Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi is equally important to him. Rumi proclaimed, "With every moment a world is born and dies. And know that for you, with every moment comes death and renewal."

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 147.
Medium
Five-channel video (color, sound), five granite slabs, five projection screens
Dimensions
Overall, 20' x 50' x 50' (610 x 1525 x 1525 cm)
Credit
Gift of The Bohen Foundation in honor of Richard E. Oldenburg
Object number
649.1997
Copyright
© 2020 Bill Viola
Department
Media and Performance

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