Video-art pioneer Bill Viola believes that cameras are the keepers of souls. From the moment he first picked up a video camera as an art student in 1970, he was captured by the technology. The exhibition Bill Viola and the Moving Portrait is the National Portrait Gallery’s first exhibition devoted to media art.
This exhibition reveals Viola’s constant, yet previously unrecognized, thematic interest in portraiture. Bill Viola and the Moving Portrait offers a selection of Viola’s works that focus on the face and the body, using his signature metaphors of water, light and spirituality. Unlike the selfies we see on social media each day, Viola’s works connect viewers of all backgrounds by using cutting-edge technology to create moving images that are emotional, searing, and profound. The exhibition includes Viola’s most contemplative portraits, such as his recent dual portrait of old age, Man Searching for Immortality/Woman Searching for Eternity (2013).