Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bill Viola - "Heaven and Earth"

In "Heaven and Earth" by Bill Viola, two exposed cathode ray tubes, the lower screen showing his newborn son and the upper screen his recently deceased grandmother on her deathbed. Each of the images, perfectly positioned above each other with a small gap in between, are reflected in each other, evocative of a sense of balance in the cycle of life and death and the gap between the spiritual and the material. The delicate arrangement of the exposed CRTs evokes a sense of quiet, fragility, and balance, emphasized by their symmetrical arrangement on a floor-to-ceiling column. I think the use of negative space between the two curved screens is particularly effective, as the lines seem to flow into each other, briefly separate, and resume along the length of the column.

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