A pioneer of video art since the 1970's, Viola manipulates our perceptions of linear time by speeding up, slowing down, and reversing footage. Through quietly evolving transformations, human forms experience changes of elemental states.

All works courtesy of the artist and James Cohan Gallery.


Six Heads

Single-channel video
20:00 minutes
Ed. of 12


From the artist:

"[When I started out] was a time of intense experimentation in all sorts of ways; technological and also in terms of looking at the self, and the video camera played into that. It was not just a matter of pointing it at something. It was about self-knowledge, and the camera could fracture the self. You realise there are two dimensions: what you see and what you feel, and that was a huge area to explore. . . . The Passion series was me coming to grips with the loss of my parents and being awakened as to what death really means. And therefore what existence really means. It's not a game, it's the deepest thing possible for a human being to conquer and try and understand, and I wanted to deal with that.." 

- The Guardian 2014




1973 "New Video Work," Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

1974 "Bill Viola: Video and Sound Installations," The Kitchen Center, New York 1979 "Projects: Bill Viola," The Museum of Modern Art, New York

1983 "Bill Viola," ARC, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France

1985 "Summer 1985," Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

1985 "Bill Viola," Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

1987 "Bill Viola: Installations and Videotapes," The Museum of Modern Art, New York

1988 "Bill Viola: Survey of a Decade," Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas

1989 "Bill Viola," Fukui Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukui City, Japan, part of The 3rd Fukui International Video Biennale.

1990 "Bill Viola: The Sleep of Reason," Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Jouy-en-Josas, France

1992 "Bill Viola: Nantes Triptych," Chappelle de l'Oratoire, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, France

1992 "Bill Viola," Donald Young Gallery, Seattle, Washington (five installations)

1992 "Bill Viola: Two Installations," Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, England

1992 "Bill Viola. Unseen Images," Stadtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany. Travels to: Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (1993); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (1993); Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (1993); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, England (1993), Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (1994)

1994 "Bill Viola: Stations," American Center inaugural opening, Paris, France

1994 "Bill Viola: Território do Invisível/Site of the Unseen," Centro Cultural/Banco do Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1995 "Buried Secrets," United States Pavilion, 46th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy. Travels to Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany (1995); Arizona State University Art Museum (1996)

1996 "Bill Viola: New Work," Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (installation)

1996 "Bill Viola: The Messenger," Durham Cathedral, Visual Arts UK 1996, Durham, England. Travels to South London Gallery, London, England (1996); Video Positiva-Moviola, Liverpool, England; The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland; Oriel Mostyn, Gwynedd, Wales; The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (1997)

1996 “Bill Viola: Trilogy: Fire, Water, Breath,” Chapelle Saint-Louise de la Salpetrière, Festival d’Automne, Paris

1997 “Bill Viola: Fire, Water, Breath,” Guggenheim Museum (SoHo), New York

1997 “Bill Viola: A 25-Year Survey” organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Travels to Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1998); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1998); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (1999); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California (1999); Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois (1999-2000)

2000 “The World of Appearances,” Helaba Main Tower, Frankfurt, Germany (permanent installation)

2000 “Bill Viola: New Work,” James Cohan Gallery, New York

2001 “Bill Viola: Five Angels for the Millennium,” Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London

2002 "Bill Viola: Going Forth By Day," Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin

2003 "Bill Viola: The Passions," Getty Museum, Los Angeles

2003 "Bill Viola," Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea

2003 "Bill Viola: Five Angels for the Millennium," Ruhrtriennale, Gasometer, Oberhausen, Germany

2003 "Bill Viola: The Passions," National Gallery, London

2004 "Bill Viola: Temporality and Transcendence," Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain

2005 "Bill Viola: The Passions," Fundación "la Caixa," Madrid, Spain; and National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

2005 "Bill Viola Visions," ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark

2005 "Bill Viola," James Cohan Gallery, New York, USA

2005 "Tristan und Isolde," fully staged opera premiere at the Opéra National de Paris, France

2006 "Bill Viola – Video", 2006 Recipient of the NORD/LB Art Prize, Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, Germany

2006 "LOVE/DEATH The Tristan Project," Haunch of Venison, and St. Olave’s College (two venues), London, UK

2006 “Bill Viola: Hatsu-Yume (First Dream),” Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

2007 “Bill Viola: Las Horas Invisibles,” Museo de Bellas Artes de Granada, Palacio de Carlos V (Alhambra), Spain

2007 “Bill Viola,” Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland

2007 “Ocean Without a Shore,” Church of San Gallo, Venice, Italy

2008 “Bill Viola: The Tristan Project,” Art Gallery of New South Wales, and St Saviour’s Church, Sydney, Australia

2008 “Bill Viola: Transfigurations.” Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea

2008 “Ocean Without a Shore,” National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

2008 “Bill Viola: Visioni interiori,” Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy

2009 “Bill Viola: Bodies of Light,” James Cohan Gallery, New York, New York, USA

2009 “Bill Viola: The Intimate Work,” De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands

2009 “Bill Viola: Being Time,” The Pier Arts Center, Stromness, Orkney, Scotland, UK

2009 “Bill Viola: Installations and Screenings” (Screenings part of Forum Expanded, 59th Berlinale), Haunch of Venison, Berlin, Germany

2010 “Bill Viola per Capodimonte,” The Museo di Capodimonte of Naples, Naples, Italy

2010 “Bill Viola: The Quintet of the Astonished,” Urban Video Project, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA

2010 “Emergence: Bill Viola at the Accademia Gallery,” Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, Italy

2010 “Bill Viola: Figurative Works,” Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain

2010 “Bill Viola: Fire Woman and Tristan’s Ascension,” Presented by Kaldor Public Art Projects in association with the Melbourne International Arts Festival; St. Carthage's Church, Melbourne, Australia

2010 “Bill Viola: The Raft,” Presented by ACMI for the Melbourne International Arts Festival in association with Kaldor Public Art Projects, Melbourne, Australia

2011 “Bill Viola: Quintet of the Unseen,” Blain|Southern, London, UK

2011 “Bill Viola: Liber Insularum,” Sala de Arte Contemporaneo del Gobierno de Canarias, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

2011 “Bill Viola: Transformations,” Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo, Japan

2011 “Amore e Morte,” Gucci Museum, Florence, Italy

2011 “Ocean Without a Shore,” Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, USA

2012 “Bill Viola: The Raft,” Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

2012 “Bill Viola: Unspoken,” James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai, China

2012 “Bill Viola: Submerged-Spaces,” Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, UK

2012 “Bill Viola: Reflections,” Villa di Panza, Varese, Italy

2012 “Bill Viola: Water,” Nordic Watercolor Museum, Skarhamn, Sweden

2012 “Bill Viola: Liber Insularum,” Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Florida, USA

2013 “Bill Viola: Ascension,” Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

2013 “Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures,” Blain|Southern, London, UK

2013 “Bill Viola: The Return,” Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

2013 “Point of Departure,” Parque de La Memoria, Buenos Aries, Argentina

2014 “Tristan und Isolde,” Teatro Real, Madrid, Spain

2014 “Bill Viola: In Dialogue,” Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando Madrid, Spain

2014 “Bill Viola,” Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, France

2014 “Revival of Tristan at La Bastille,” Opera Bastille, Paris, France

2014 “Bill Viola: Passions,” Cathedral of Berne & Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland

2014 “Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water),”(Permanent), St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, UK

2014 “Bill Viola: Transformation,” Faurschou Foundation, Beijing, China

2015 "Bill Viola: Selected Works,” Art Gallery of South Australia, St. Peter’s Cathedral, and Queen’s Theatre, organized by Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide, Australia

2015 “Masterpiece 2015: Bill Viola,” De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2015 “Bill Viola,” Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2015 “Bill Viola,” Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK



1984 Polaroid Video Art Award for outstanding achievement, USA

1987 Maya Deren Award, American Film Institute, USA

1989 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award, USA

1993 Skowhegan Medal (Video Installation), USA

1993 Medienkunstpreis, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, and Siemens Kulturprogramm, Germany

2003 Cultural Leadership Award, American Federal of Arts, USA

2006 NORD/LB Art Prize, Bremen, Germany

2009 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts, MIT, Cambridge, MA

2009 Catalonia International Prize, Barcelona, Spain

2011 Arents Award for Distinguished Alumni, Syracuse University, New York

2011 Praemium Imperiale, the Japan Art Association, Tokyo

2013 National Artist Award, Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, CO

2013 Aurora Award, Aurora Picture Show, Houston, TX