Bill Viola (b. 1951) is an NY-born video artist whose work addresses fundamental human experiences such as birth, death, and consciousness. His work frequently uses water to explore these themes.
The pivotal moment in Viola’s life is when he was 6 years old and fell to the bottom of a lake. His uncle saved him from drowning, but while in the lake Viola experienced what he later described as “the most beautiful world he’s ever seen.” His work, which often involves water, is influenced by this experience. In his words, “I see it [the bottom of the lake] constantly almost in my mind in my mind's eye. It was a kind of paradise…”