photo by John Anderson

Best Illusion

Bill Viola's Anima

Recently on view at the Blanton as a part of the "Timeframe" exhibit, this framed and mounted color video triptych by internationally renowned video artist Bill Viola was purchased by the local museum for its permanent collection. At first glance, the odd video installation did not look like much to the cursory viewer. But for those who stopped to look were literally brought to a standstill. Taken from the Latin word for "soul," Anima depicts three people whom Viola directed to express the emotions of joy, sorrow, anger, and fear in that specific order. Although it was shot in just one minute, by stretching the length of the film to 82 minutes, the artist creates what upon first glance looks like three still photographic portraits. But for those who stayed a little longer, stared a little harder, or even came back a little later, they were startled to find that the three faces changed, ever so slowly and subtly. What made the work even more haunting is that the longer we watched, the more we sensed ourselves gradually changing as well.

The Blanton Museum of Art
200 E. MLK, 512/471-5482

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