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Bill Viola: ‘Rembrandt’ of the digital age

Bill Viola is a towering figure in the contemporary art world and has made a major contribution to establishing video as a key form of contemporary art.

Throughout his career Viola has been an innovator, experimenting with the full range of tools available to a video artist: extreme slow-motion, loops, multi-screen installations and infra-red surveillance cameras of the kind usually found in banks. These tools allow Viola to capture and express the invisible: time, the power of the elements at work, mirages, death.

The Kunstmuseum in Bern first purchased works by the artist in the 1990s, which now form part of a permanent exhibition. Currently there are an additional four Viola works on show, with one or two video projections per room throughout the building.

At the same time, five of Viola’s more recent works are also being shown at the Bern Minster. These focus on more spiritual subjects, illustrating people and interiors in symbolical acts with reference to liturgy. The videos are all about cleansing, transformation and human compassion. (RTS/

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