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The Fall into Paradise

2005 Bill Viola Born: New York, New York 1951 Sarah Steben (Performer) John Hay (Performer) single-channel video installation, high-definition, color, sound; 09:58 minutes dimensions variable Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment © 2005, Bill Viola 2012.56 Not currently on view

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Bill Viola explored themes of transformation and transcendence from emotional, philosophical, and spiritual perspectives. In The Fall into Paradise, a single pixel appears in the void, then slowly expands to reveal two figures entwined in an embrace. Just at the instant the figures become clear, they explode through the surface into a spectacular display of color and light. The performers' experience represents a moment of transcendental and spiritual breakthrough, tracing Viola's continuing search for consciousness and empirical knowledge through art.

Watch This!: Revelations in Media Art, 2015


media arts