Bill Viola “Hatsu-Yume (First Dream)”

I wish I had asked Bill Viola why he chose “Hatsu-Yume – First Dream” as the title of this exhibition, although I hadn’t thought about it until now, this very moment when I am just beginning to write this review.

poster for Bill Viola

Bill Viola "Hatsu-Yume (First Dream)"

at Mori Art Museum
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2006-10-14 - 2007-01-08)

In Reviews by Megumi Matsubara 2006-10-19

I heard that the “Hatsu-Yume” exhibition was going to take place at the Mori Museum several months ago, but it’s only now that I have started to think about this title. The title and Bill Viola’s work fit so perfectly together, so I had never thought about the reason why it was titled this way until today.

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I find many romantic words like ‘hatsuyume’ in Japanese, a word that shows every specific moment of one’s life; a small word but one that somehow indicates infinite feelings. Each of such words is what I call a higher-level word, that would express the affluence of the various feelings that come along during one’s life: feelings that are never expressed enough by words like ‘Love’ or ‘Peace’. If one is tempted to express such feelings in, for example, English, there is no one word that can do it. At least a sentence is required. Is it because of the days he spent in Japan or is it a direct outcome of the swirl around his life that I see each of Bill Viola’s works as a higher-level word? The title of the exhibition has Bill Viola wrapped up within it like an answer to my question.

The stretched moments of life dramatically evolve in front of my eyes. I blink, but nothing really changes. I blink again, but the scenery is almost the same. Nevertheless, little by little there something is changing, something is happening. It never stops, it begins, continues, ends, begins again, and continues. The eyes of the audience quietly follow every single moment as if they know what would happen. The audience resists blinking and breathing in order to stare at these continuous heralds. His works are all just like funerals carried out for each moment in life that happens and flows: a precious ceremony allocated to confirm every part of these layered, unbroken series of moments.

“Art is the only possible means left in this world now to communicate directly to people’s minds without any translation”. These sincere words spoken by Bill Viola himself at the reception, explain exactly how his work communicates to you. It reaches straight down to the bottom of your heart like any other higher-level expression could. It is a bottomless collection of meanings, just like one beautiful word that speaks thousands of words, that tries to reach you beyond any possible structure of grammar.

Megumi Matsubara

Megumi Matsubara. Founder of assistant Co., Ltd - international & interdisciplinary design practice. Megumi studied architecture as a master's student at the Bartlett, University College London, under Peter Cook. Since 2002, she has created and developed free and liberated design with assistant, collaborating with various artists and clients from all over the world. » See other writings


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