Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday Artist: Bill Viola

There's more than just the surface of life.
The real things are under the surface.
~ Bill Viola

Once you've seen a Bill Viola video, you never forget it. A pioneer in the field, Viola made his first video in 1972, thereafter devoting himself to the medium, what he calls his "lifeline", to explore human experience, self-knowledge, and the spiritual. 

Below, in  the excellent "Bill Viola: Cameras are Soul Keepers", the much-lauded Viola talks about his discovery of video and what it has meant to his development, both as an artist of incomparable talent and as a person. 

Viola's interview for the Louisiana Channel was conducted by Christian Lund. 

Among Viola's numerous awards are a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship ("Genius Grant") and the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association.

The exhibition "Bill Viola: Electronic Renaissance" opens March 10 at the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy. The immersive exhibition, which continues through July 23, will celebrate the artist's career, from early experimental work (1951-1974) to monumental installations (2000-2016). See the "Bill Viola Story" online.

Here in the United States, the exhibition "Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait" is on view at the Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., through May 7.

Bill Viola Online Catalogue at Video Data Bank

Note: I've written a number of posts on Viola. See, for example, "All Art Friday" (June 18, 2010). Viola also appears in Louisiana Channel's "8 Artists on Water", which I offered in another Wednesday Artist column (January 25, 2017).

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