The Art Gallery is one of three venues to host the Adelaide Festival exhibition Bill Viola: Selected works – the broadest selection of Viola’s works ever curated in Australia. Visitors to the Gallery will experience themes of birth, death, transformation and transcendence.
Among the four works to be exhibited is the celebrated installation The Crossing, 1996, through which Viola brings together the two opposing forces of fire and water. On each side of a double-sided projection screen, a single figure emerges from a distant darkness, simultaneously walking towards the viewer and becoming increasingly distinct. When each figure stops near the boundary of the screen’s edge, a stream of water begins to flow onto one until he is submerged by a torrent, while a small flame appears at the feet of the other figure before he is engulfed by an inferno. Annihilation becomes a means to transcendence and liberation, while also symbolising various religious and mythic traditions.
Viola, a pioneer of video art in the 1970s, is now considered one of the great masters of the medium and is among the most significant contemporary artists of our time. His work is renowned for its atmospheric purity and haunting beauty.