Bill Viola

Visitation Reformation
September 1 – November 5, 2017

Bill Viola,Tempest (Study for the Raft), 2005. Color high-definition video on flat panel display mounted on wall. 66 × 109 × 10,2 cm / 26 × 42 7⁄8 × 4 in. 16:50 min. Photo: Kira Perov.

Uppsala Art Museum

Drottning Christinas väg 1 E
752 37 Uppsala, Sweden
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-4 pm, Thursday 12-8 pm

Uppsala Cathedral
Domkyrkoplan 2
75310 Uppsala, Sweden
Hours: Daily 8 am-6 pm

As part of celebrating five hundred years of Reformation Uppsala Cathedral and Uppsala Art Museum presents an exhibition with the American artist Bill Viola. In Visitation Reformation six video works from the years 2002–2014 are on display in the Cathedral and in the Museum. Together, the two cultural institutions create new connections through Uppsala: between the holy room and the contemporary art space, between church and castle, between past and present. 

In Uppsala Art Museum the video work Observance, 2002, is presented in a space with remnants of an altar wall from the 16th century. The room where Viola’s work is on display was once the Chapel. Observance is part of a series of video works called the Passions, created between 2000 and 2002. In the series, as in Viola’s entire oeuvre, there is, in the presenting of timeless experiences, an undercurrent of mysticism and spirituality. To highlight the interaction between Viola’s artistic practice and art history, a selection of paintings from the art collection of Uppsala University is on display in the same room with Observance

In Uppsala Cathedral the video works Ablutions, The Encounter, Tempest (Study for the Raft), Air Martyr and Visitation is presented. Ablutions is the first work the visitor meets in the church hall. Another four of Viola’s video works are shown in smaller chapels along the aisles of the church. Each work is accompanied by a text written by Bill Viola. 

Challenging and developing video art has been an important part of Bill Violas practice. His oeuvre touches the fundamental experiences of human existence. It is about what matters most in our lives. Birth, death, and liberation, and how these are reflected in spiritual traditions and in art history. In Visitation Reformation meetings occur between the artwork and every viewer’s personal experience, faith, and memories, regardless of language and religion.

BILL VIOLA was born in New York in 1951, and lives in Los Angeles, USA. He is regarded as one of the most influential international video artists. Bill Viola has exhibited his works in several churches. St Paul’s Cathedral in London permanently hosts two of his video works. In Sweden an exhibition was presented at the Nordic Watercolor Museum in 2012. In 2017 a large retrospective is currently on display at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. 

In collaboration with Uppsala Cathedral and Gustavianum, Uppsala University Museum. In the church the works are shown with support from the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities through the Huselius Fund. The intention is to acquire one of the displayed works for permanent installation. A catalogue will be published in connection with the exhibition.