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Emergence / Viola

Emergence, a video installation by Bill Viola from the permanent collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, is on view at the Getty Center through August 24, 2008.

About Emergence
Emergence was inspired by a 1424 fresco by the Italian Renaissance painter Masolino that depicts the dead Christ standing in a sarcophagus as Mary and Saint John mourn him. For his work, Viola staged a scene with elements of both birth and death: a young man rises miraculously from a well as water pours from it, and two women lay him to rest. The scene was shot on 35mm film at 210 frames per second, producing motion that is seven times slower than normal, then transferred to high-definition video.

Emergence was commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Museum and first presented at the Getty Center in the 2003 exhibition Bill Viola: The Passions. This long-term installation coincides with two major exhibitions at the Getty Center: Medieval Treasures from the Cleveland Museum of Art (October 30, 2007–January 20, 2008), which features more than 120 masterworks of sacred and secular art from the 3rd to the 16th century and California Video (March 15–June 8, 2008), a major survey of video-based work produced by artists in California, including Viola, from 1967 to the present.

Explore the making of Emergence on the Web site for the exhibition Bill Viola: The Passions.

Learn more about Emergence in our online collections.

About Bill Viola
Since the early 1970s, using video as his primary medium, Viola has explored the inner landscapes of consciousness and perception. He intends his work to be a means of transformation both for himself and for viewers through a heightened experience of the world and the self.

Learn more about Bill Viola on his Web site.