Featured artist: Bill Viola | ITSLIQUID

Featured artist: Bill Viola

Art | July 12, 2012 |

Bill Viola, Fire Woman, 2005. Still images. Image courtesy of Bill Viola Studio

Bill Viola

Hailed as the “Rembrandt of the video art” and the “Hi-tech Caravaggio“, Bill Viola is internationally recognized as one of the most important contemporary video artist. His video installations deals with the central themes of fundamental human experiences (such as birth and death) and aspects of consciousness. Obsessed with capturing the essence of emotion through recording of its extreme display, Viola’s art has a deep aesthetic and emotional impact: his works seem to be spiritual exercises that help observers understand the meaning of humankind.

Bill Viola, The Lovers, 2005. Still image. (left) – Bill Viola, Tristan’s Ascension, 2004. Still image. Image courtesy of Bill Viola Studio (right)

His videos are usually structured and based on the number 5 (a revealing number for Viola’s deep interest in oriental mysticism) and orbit five basic elements: life cycle, dark, light, space and sound. Another constant theme is dualism expressed by couple of elements such as life and death, light and dark, stressed and calm, loud and quiet and the idea that you can’t understand what you’re looking at unless you know its opposite. Equally, the subject matter and manner of western medieval and renaissance devotional art have informed his aesthetic.

Bill Viola, Ocean without a Shore, 2007. Still image. Performer: Blake Viola

All his videos are realized with innovative new media: ultra-slow motion techniques, which probe human perception and let the viewer sink into to the image and connect deeply to the meanings contained within it; high definition videos and LCD screens, which exhibits a painterly quality; primordial sounds and spaces which seem naturally connected with the images but are carefully projected.

Bill Viola, Purification, 2005. Still image

Born in 1951 in Queens and graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Viola studied in the Experimental Studios of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. From 1974-1976, Viola worked as technical director at Art/Tapes/22, a pioneering video studio in Florence, Italy where he encountered video artists Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, and Vito Acconci. His early work established his fascination with issues that continue to inform his work today: Viola’s obsession with emotion began at least as early as his 1976 work, “The Space Between the Teeth“, a video of himself screaming, and continues to this day with such works as the 45-second “Silent Mountain” (2001), which shows two actors in states of anguish.

Bill Viola, The Raft, 2004. Still image

Some of his most famous video art projects are: “The Sleepers” (1992), which shows  sleeping people  black and white screened on the bottom of barrels full of water; “The Quintet Series” (2000), a set of four separate videos that shows the unfolding expressions of five actors in such slow motion that every minute detail of their changing expressions can be detected; an “Ocean without a Shore” (2007), exposed in Church of san Gallo, which explores life and death and shows people, standing in the foreground, that seem to produce gallons of water from themselves as if they were waterfalls (as symbol of rebirth). In “Observance” (2002) the camera is placed at eye level, facing the head of a line of people that slowly advance one by one, in a state of intense and quiet grief. In 2004, Viola started The “Tristan Project“: at the invitation of opera director Peter Sellars, he created video sequences to be shown as a backdrop to the action on stage during the performance of Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde.

Bill Viola’s exhibition profile, which includes the National Gallery, London, Guggenheim Berlin, Guggenheim New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Getty Los Angeles, California, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, marks him as a major contemporary artist.

more. www.billviola.com

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to info@itsliquid.com or fill the form below

RELATED POSTS


INTERVIEW:CENGIZ YATAGAN

Interviews | October 15, 2020

Cengiz Yatağan was born in 1968. He finished his education in Istanbul before moving to Australia, where he was involved in businesses for two years. He has worked in architecture, construction and IT sectors. After specializing in renovation of historic buildings, he focused on arts. Lives and works in Istanbul. Read more


INTERVIEW: HEIKE-ANGELA BALTRUWEIT

Interviews | October 12, 2020

I am looking for abstract compositions in my surroundings to capture them photographically. The objects and situations are neither changed, arranged nor manually illuminated, nor are they subsequently edited on the computer, even the detail is identical to the shot. All pictures are 'Pure Photography'. I see my surroundings as a 'natural exhibition space'. I find works of art on the pavement, on building walls, in the water and in factory buildings. These works of art are fixations of the moment and therefore difficult to reproduce. A different angle of view, a changed incidence of light, and the colours, bizarrely changed forms have disappeared. Read more


Waiwai

Fashion | October 12, 2020

Growing up founder and designer Sasha Arkhipova was exposed to the artistic process from an early age. Brought up in a family of creatives she was surrounded by art, fashion, architecture and alternative music as she developed her passion for form and material exploration. During her formative years she spent most of her spare time absorbing the curiosities of her native Russia attending various galleries, exhibits and watching classic and progressive films. Read more


Why Is It Hard to…

Art | October 12, 2020

This summer MO Museum in Vilnius opens a new exhibition Why Is It Hard to Love?. It is curated by innovative Dutch multimedia artist and director Saskia Boddeke and one of the most original filmmakers of our times Peter Greenaway. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!