From 10 March to 23 July 2017 the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi introduces Bill Viola, a significant exhibition celebrating this unchallenged master of video art, presenting works that span his long career, and which resonate with the architecture of Palazzo Strozzi. In order to create a unique experience, the exhibition will also include masterpieces of the Renaissance, such as, Pontormo, Masolino da Panicale, Paolo Uccello and Lukas Cranach.
Born in New York in 1951, Bill Viola is internationally recognised as one of the most important contemporary artists, producing video installations, sound environments and performances that offer the public profound experiences of immersion in space, image and sound. In exploring spirituality, experience and perception, Viola observes mankind itself; people, bodies and faces are the leading players in his works, with their poetic and strongly symbolic style in which man is called on to interact with such forces and opposing energies of nature as water and fire, light and dark, the cycle of life and the cycle of
death and rebirth. As the artist has stated: “I am so happy to be returning to my Italian roots and to have this amazing opportunity to repay my debt to the great city of Florence with an offering of my work. Living and working in Florence in the 1970s, I never thought I would have the honour to show in such a distinguished institution as the Palazzo Strozzi.”
Creating an exhibition of Bill Viola’s art in Palazzo Strozzi, in an environment that includes both the Piano Nobile and the Strozzina, also means celebrating the special relationship that the artist has always had with the city of Florence. It was in this city that he continued to develop his career as a video artist when he was technical director of art/tapes/22, a centre for the production and documentation of video from 1974 to 1976,
run by Maria Gloria Bicocchi.
The survey exhibition, curated by Arturo Galansino, director of the Palazzo Strozzi, and Kira Perov, executive director of Bill Viola Studio, reviews a career invariably marked by a combination of technological research and aesthetic reflection. It includes works beginning with his early experiments with video in the 1970s right up to the large installations of the 2010s that have drawn the public’s attention with their strong impact on the senses. In a totally unprecedented layout, the exhibition will also use the
Renaissance context of Palazzo Strozzi to fuel an extraordinary dialogue between the classic and the contemporary through the juxtaposition of Viola’s work and masterpieces by great artists of the past that have served as sources of inspiration for this American artist and marked the development of his style.
Bill Viola, Electronic Renaissance, Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze, March 10th-July 23rd, 2017.
Link to the exhibition catalogue Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance by Giunti Editore, Firenze, March 2017.
Photos and video Courtesy of Bill Viola Studio.
The exhibition is promoted and organised by Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and Bill Viola Studio with the partecipation of the Comune di Firenze, Camera di Commercio di Firenze, Associazione Partners Palazzo Strozzi e Regione Toscana, with a contribution from Fondazione CR Firenze, with the support of Banca CR Firenze/Intesa Sanpaolo and the collaboration of Fondation Etrillard.