Image © Bill Viola Studio
In 1998 Viola was one of several scholars invited to the Getty Research Institute in California to study ‘The Representation of the Passions.’ The participants examined how artists in the past dealt with the challenge of arousing and depicting extremes of emotion through their work. They also considered how contemporary artists could learn from this.
As a result, Viola created a series of new videos, collectively called 'The Passions'. In these, inspired by historical religious paintings, he explores the intensity of the human spirit. His method is to use extreme slow motion concentrated on the faces and body movements of his performers.