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


Ebony G. Patterson

Art | January 22, 2021

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) presents an exhibition of new works by Ebony G. Patterson, reflecting on her evolving exploration of the garden as metaphor. The exhibition combines an immersive installation in the Front Gallery juxtaposed to a monumental, multilayered paper collage extending from CAM’s 60-foot-long Project Wall. The new works represent Patterson’s expansion into a new phase of her practice, emerging from the foundation of her past garden-themed constructions. Read more


GERHARD RICHTER: CAGE PAINTINGS

Art | January 19, 2021

Gerhard Richter’s Cage paintings (2006) will remain at Gagosian Beverly Hills until April 3. They were a cornerstone of the artist’s retrospective, Gerhard Richer: Painting After All, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last year. In conjunction with this key group of six paintings, a new group of drawings created by Richter on consecutive days during the summer of 2020 is being shown for the first time. Read more


LEE BUL: UTOPIA SAVED

Art | January 15, 2021

Lee Bul (b. 1964) is an artist based in Seoul, South Korea. Trained as a sculptor during the period of social and political upheavals of the 1980s, she started off her artistic career with performative pieces that incorporated wearable soft sculptures. In the 1990s she gained international recognition with a series of provocative works, including her scandalous installation of fresh fish left to decay and her Cyborg sculptures, hybrids of machine and organic forms. Read more


Ado Vabbe. Kumu Art Museum

Art | January 8, 2021

From 28 August, Kumu Art Museum will host Ado Vabbe: Wunderbar, the largest ever exhibition of the works of Ado Vabbe (1892-1961), who is one of the most intriguing names in Estonian art history and a forerunner of avant-garde art. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!