Bill Viola

Hall of Whispers

9 Oct - 9 Jan 2005
work in collection

Hall of Whispers is a video installation in which one sees, on two sides of a dark space, projections of the pallid faces of ten people who have been gagged. Bill Viola first presented this work in 1995 at the Venice Biennial. Along with four other video works, including The Greeting, it comprised part of Viola’s exhibition Buried Secrets in the American pavilion. For many years now The Greeting has been part of De Pont’s permanent collection and display. After nearly ten years it is now being temporarily reunited with Hall of Whispers.

For the collection catalogue of De Pont, Sjoukje van der Meulen describes her experience of the presentation in Venice: “One entered via Hall of Whispers, a dark space with video projections on either side – portraits of anonymous political activists, gagged.Their protests and moans could be heard distinctly through the cloth. The visitor, having anticipated a brief respite from the activity outside, was confronted with a harsh political reality. Viola had conjured forth images of executions and other atrocities and – unlike the makers of most day-to-day television images - managed to involve the viewer personally and physically in the wrongdoing.