Bill Viola

A pioneer of new media since the 1970s, Bill Viola's work explores themes of life and death, the unconscious, and the self vis-í -vis the medium of film. Viola has created single channel videos, video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, and flat panel video pieces. On the cutting edge of video art since its inception, it's almost impossible to sum up the enormous influence that his ritualistic work has had on a rising generation of artists, some of whom might rightfully call him the godfather of video installation art.

His work has been exhibited at nearly every institution of note around the world. Viola is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, aka the Genius Grant, and the first Media Art Prize, presented jointly by ZKM and Siemens in Germany. He holds honorary doctorates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, California Institute of the Arts and London's Royal College of Art, among others, and was awarded Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government in 2006.