Fire Woman


Video/sound installation: Color High-Definition video projection; four channels of sound with subwoofer (4.1)

Projection surface (screen): 580 x 326 cm (228 3/8 x 128 3/8 in.) Video: 11min. 12sec.

"Fire Woman is an image that appears in the inner eye of a dying man," said Bill Viola, author of the video. A vision of a female figure whose dark figure stands in front of a wall of flames unfolds on a large vertical screen. In a very slow progression, the character advances by spreading his arms to finally sink into a pattern of glowing waves.

`This large video installation is part of The Tristan Project, a series inspired by Richard Wagner's opera, Tristan and Isolde, which Bill Viola staged in 2005 at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. Considering that the love which unites the two mythical lovers is too deep to be embodied in their bodies, the American videographer chooses to transcend them by immersing them in the power of the elements. The fall in the union of fire and water staged by Fire Woman means as much to signify the physical death of Iseult as the liberation of his passion.

Fire Woman was first shown by Pinault Collection during the exhibition "Bill Viola: Amore e Morte" at the Gucci Museo in Florence in 2011.