Bill Viola’s Moving Stillness

Renown for his use of immersive moving images and tireless experimentation with new media to encourage audiences into unveiling a meaning of their own self-knowledge, Bill Viola returns to Blain|Southern to present one of his rarer works Moving Stillness (Mt.Rainier) 1979 – shown for the first time since its inauguration at the Media Study/Buffalo in New York.

The piece invites itself into a retrospective at Viola and the growth in his work since the 70s, though the artist’s equipment has developed in sophistication and of course, upgraded accordingly to technology, the size of the screens, projections, and installations have also seen a growth in impact and demand. However the themes of spiritual aspiration through nature and the unfolding on consciousness have remained rock-steady since.

The Encounter

(above: The Encounter 2012 Colour High-Definition video on plasma display mounted on wall. Photo: Kira Perov)

The monumental installation sees a screen suspended from the ceiling above a large body of water, setting the tone for a totalling environment that promises to envelop the viewer in image and sound. Red, green and blue light beams are projected into the surface of the water, depicting an edit of real-time footage of Mount Rainier.

An interruption in periodic intervals akin to that of a Mount Rainer’s stratovolcano disturbance causes the water’s surface to scatter. The beams of colour disperse into a chaotic pattern of light, and once water resettles, we’re brought back to a rest as so does the image.

The one of a kind installation is best described by the gallery: “The solid, unmoving, reflected image of a mountain proves to be delicate and impermanent as it disintegrates at slight disturbances on the surface of the water. Presented in the gallery as a stand- alone work, this meditative installation offers a rare moment for mindful focus. Viola’s spiritual investigations have always been underpinned by a deep scientific understanding of the neuro-physiological mechanisms of perception. In Moving Stillness (Mt. Rainier) he seeks to reveal the fundamental human truths that lie beneath the surface of observable phenomena.

Moving Stillness opens October 13th and runs until November 21st at Blain|Southern
4 Hanover Square

Feature image: Bill Viola, Mt Rainier coffee shopWA, August 1979 Photo: Kira Perov

Luciana Garbarni (@LucPierra)