Friday, June 23, 2017

Bill Viola breathes fresh life into the Renaissance

By Isabel Stevens
Man Searching for Immortality/Woman Searching for Eternity (installation view; 2013), Bill Viola. Courtesy Bill Viola Studio and Blain|Southern, London
FLORENCE---Video art and the Renaissance don’t normally go hand in hand, but in Bill Viola’s work they are inseparable. Born in 1951, Viola is part of a generation of artists who grew up with television, although he was one of the first to make videos without dabbling in other art forms beforehand. His highly symbolic, spiritual, and elaborately orchestrated scenes are so popular that he is the medium’s best-known practitioner – a video artist for people who don’t like video art, sniff his detractors, as if that is some kind of bad thing. What is clear from walking around this exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, however, is how Viola’s work rarely resembles video art. ‘Bill Viola: Electronic Renaissance’ is at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, until 23 July. [More]
The Flood and the Receding of the Waters (c. 1439–40), Paolo Uccello. Museo di Santa Maria Novella, Florence
The Deluge (Going Forth by Day) (video still; 2002), Bill Viola. Courtesy Bill Viola Studio

Lucas Cranach the Elder 1472 – 1553, Adam and Eve (1528) oil on panel (172 × 63 cm / 167 × 61 cm) — 1528