Bill Viola

Flushing, New York United States 1951, lives and works in Los Angeles

Catherine’s Room 2001

color video polyptych on five LCD flat panels mounted on wall
38,1 x 246 x 5,7 cm, ed. 6/6

Catherine’s Room is a private view into the room of a solitary woman who goes about a series of daily rituals from morning until night. The woman’s actions are simple and purposeful, and appear simultaneously in parallel across five flat panel screens arranged in a horizontal row. Each panel represents a different time of day—morning, afternoon, sunset, evening and night. A small window in the wall reveals a view of the outside world where the branches of a tree are visible. In each panel the tree is seen in successive stages of its annual cycle, from spring blossoms to bare branches. The world outside the window reveals another layer of time, transforming the scene from a record of one day into the larger view of a life bound to the cycles of nature.Catherine’s Room is based on a fourteenth century predella by Andrea di Bartolo of Siena, Italy, presenting scenes from the life of St Catherine.

listen to interview with Bill Viola on BBC radio