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  • Provenance

    James Cohan Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    Chicago, Chicago Art Fair, May 11 – 14, 2001; Hanover, New Hampshire, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Permanent Collection Installation, July – October, 2002 (another example exhibited); Indianapolis Museum of Art, Permanent Collection Installation, July 2 – November 3, 2002 (another example exhibited); Dublin, Royal Hibernian Academy, Gallagher Gallery, Like Painting, October 10 – November 24, 2002 (another example exhibited); Rotterdam, Nederlands fotomuseum, Foto Biënnale Rotterdam, 2003 (another example exhibited); Genazzano, Castello di Colonna, Zero Visibility, March 8 – April 13, 2003 (another example exhibited); São Paulo, Paço das Artes, Reincarnated Painting, May 27 – September 9, 2004 (another example exhibited); Paris, Art Public Contemporain, Nuit Blanche, October 2 – 3, 2004 (another example exhibited); London, The National Gallery, Bill Viola: THE PASSIONS, October 22, 2003 – January 4, 2004 (another example exhibited); Hanover, New Hampshire, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Transcending Time: Recent Work by Bill Viola and Lorna Simpson, January 22 - March 12, 2005 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    F. Gierstberg and B. Vroege, eds., Experience, the media rat race: photography, art, architecture, fashion, publicity, advertising, entertainment, technology, Rotterdam, 2003, pp. 186-187 (illustrated); J. Walsh, ed., Bill Viola: THE PASSIONS, Los Angeles/London, 2003, p. 74 and 267 (illustrated); J. Thibodeaux, “Simple Complexities”, Nuvo, February 11, 2004; S. L. Berry, “Arts angels”, IndyStar, March 11, 2007

  • Catalogue Essay

    Bill Viola, widely considered as a pioneer of his medium, video art, is internationally recognized as one of the leading artists of our time, and has been instrumental in establishing the medium of video art as not only a perfectly legitimate but vital form of contemporary art. It is since the 1970s that the artist has been exploring themes of perception, memory, knowledge and humanity through his breadth of both epic and subtle video installations. Devoted to human emotions, the Passion series underscores the pivotal influence human psychology has had, through art history, and transforms this reality into an equivalent of modern times utilizing his complete mastery of digital technology and set production. Viola's works have become distinguished for their execution of precision and direct simplicity, employing state of the art technologies to create total environments to envelop the viewer totally within the emotion he is representing. The Quintet of the Silent, is a single part of four pieces created for the Passions series, comprising of five performers standing close together, displaying bouts of emotions with such power that one is convinced that it will consume and overtake the group. Viola employs a slowed down ratio of 17:1, enabling every subtle change in expression to appear as a grandiose action, the performers are brought to us with serene focus, heightened by the fact that piece is silent, emphasizing the visual and physical display of performers. The Quintet of The Silent , with an all male cast, is unique among the Passion series, the actors aree carefully and slowly emoting the most profound sense of and sadness and grief with a aura of rawness and honesty, powerfully expressing the artist influence from spiritual traditions such as Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism and Christian mysticism. This lot is a perfect example of how Viola allows his viewers to experience the work directly and in their own personal way using the inner language of subjective thoughts and collective memories.
    Viola created the passion series as a reflection of his studies and interest in Medieval and early Renaissance devotional painting. As the artist describes, "I've been looking at the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, when making art drastically changed. You not only had the development of vantage-point perspective, but you also had a population that was becoming increasingly mobile thanks to the money generated by a rising merchant class. People were hitting the roads, and all of a sudden there was a demand for private, devotional, illustrated prayer books. So artists started making little panel paintings that were latched and hinged, that you could close up and take with you. When you got to your inn, you could open it up and do your prayers: It was everyone getting their own laptop, basically. I'm interested in the art from such a period of transition, because I think we're experiencing something similar today," (B. Viola taken from interview with T. Griffin, "Man with a slow hand", Time Out New York, November 16-23, 2000).


The Quintet of the Silent

Video installation comprised of single-channel colour video on wall-mounted plasma display.
72.4 x 120.7 x 10.2 cm. (28 1/2 x 47 1/2 x 4 in).
This work is from an edition of five and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £157,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

18 Oct 2008, 7pm