Viola Bill

Publié le par Olivier Lussac

Bill Viola is a major figure in video art. His installations and videotapes, which have received international recognition, are distinguished by a confluence of allegorical resonance and virtuosic control of technology. Viola explores video's temporal and optical systems to metaphorically examine modes of perception and cognition, and ultimately chart a symbolic quest for self. Employing a rigorous structuralism, a ritualized investigation of visual and acoustic phenomena, illusion and reality, he achieves a poetic articulation of visionary transcendence. "Visual poems, allegories in the language of subjective perception," is how Viola terms his videotapes, which include such major works as Chott el-Djerid (1979); Hatsu Yume (First Dream) (1981); and I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like (1986).
Light and time are the essential materials with which Viola conducts his metaphysical, at times spiritual search to know and define the self. Rendered plastic, they are used to define a symbolic language of the unconscious and consciousness, microcosm and macrocosm, inner and outer landscapes. Unfolding without spoken language, infused with emblematic transformations and archetypal images, his works suggest subconscious dreams or pre-lingual memories. Viola's extraordinary use of video technology to "sculpt" with time is one of his few "special effects." Time-lapse, slow motion, reversals, duration and other temporal interventions acquire metaphorical significance, evoking cycles of day and night, birth, life, death and renewal.
This unique exploration of technological systems to articulate transcendent perceptions reflects a convergence of eclectic influences: musical principles; the philosophies and rituals of non-Western cultures; Judeo-Christian mysticism; modernism and Romanticism; the natural and animal worlds; structuralist film; and the television and media world of his self-described "seven-channel childhood."
Viola's presence is always manifested in images or reflections of himself. In early, performance-based exercises, including Migration (1976) and The Space
Between the Teeth (1976), Viola began a systematic mapping of specific optical devices -- macro lens, the zoom -- to explore modes of seeing and perceiving reflections of the self. With The Reflecting Pool (1977-80), which describes "the stages of a personal journey through images of transition," Viola employs increasingly sophisticated manipulations of time and light as metaphysical constructs. Astonishing alterations and transformations of reality and representation disrupt the viewer's expectations of visual and temporal causality.
One of the culminating expressions of Viola's artistic project, I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like (1986) unfolds as an epic quest for transcendence and self-knowledge through a symbolic rendering of animal and spiritual consciousness. This highly allegorical work includes a vision that is emblematic of Viola's artistic project: a self-image reflected in an owl's eye.
Viola is best known for his significant body of work in multi-media installation, in which he extends his symbolic language of images and sound into dramatic, theatrical articulations.
Viola was born in 1951. He received a B.F.A. from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracuse University, in 1973. While there, he was an instrumental participant in the Synapse Video Center, one of the first alternative media centers in New York State. In 1973, he and several musicians formed the Composers Inside Electronics Group; in 1975, he became technical director of Art/Tapes/22, an artists' production studio in Florence, Italy. From 1976 until 1980, Viola was artist-in- residence at the Television Laboratory at WNET/Thirteen, New York; he was artist-in-residence at the Sony Corporation, Atsugi, Japan, in 1980.
Viola has received numerous awards, including a United States/Japan Exchange Fellowship in 1980; a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 1982; a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1985; the Polaroid Video Art Award in 1985; National Endowment for the Arts awards in 1978, 1983, 1986, and 1989; and the American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award for Independent Film and Video in 1987. In 1989, he was the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award.
Viola's videotapes and installations have been shown widely throughout the world, in major group exhibitions at festivals and institutions including Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Documenta VI, Kassel, Germany; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Venice Biennale. He has also had one-person shows at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; ARC/Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, among other institutions. Bill Viola was chosen to represent the United States at the 46th Venice Biennale, which is the oldest and most reknowned international contemporary arts festival. Five video and sound installations were created specifically by Viola for the Bienniale's United States Pavillion. He was the subject of a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Amerian Art in 1998.
Viola lives in Long Beach, California.

Bill Viola is a major figure in video art. His works, which have received international recognition, are distinguished by a confluence of allegorical resonance and virtuosic control of technology. Viola explores video's temporal and optical systems to metaphorically examine modes of perception and cognition, and ultimately chart a symbolic quest for self. His ritualized investigations of visual and acoustic phenomena, illusion and reality, achieve a poetic articulation of visionary transcendence.

Information  1973, 30 min, color, sound
Red Tape -- Collected Works  1975, 30 min, color, sound
Playing Soul Music to My Freckles  1975, 2:46 min, color, sound
A Non-Dairy Creamer  1975, 5:19 min, color, sound
The Semi-Circular Canals  1975, 8:51 min, color, sound
A Million Other Things (2)  1975, 4:35 min, color, sound
Return  1975, 7:15 min, color, sound
Four Songs  1976, 33 min, color, sound
Junkyard Levitation  1976, 3:11 min, color, sound
Songs of Innocence  1976, 9:34 min, color, sound
The Space Between the Teeth  1976, 9:10 min, color, sound
Truth Through Mass Individuation  1976, 10:13 min, color, sound
Migration  1976, 7 min, color, sound
Memories of Ancestral Power (The Moro Movement in the Solomon Islands)  1977, 35:19 min, color, sound
Memory Surfaces and Mental Prayers  1977, 29 min, color, sound
The Wheel of Becoming  1977, 7:40 min, color, sound
The Morning After the Night of Power  1977, 10:44 min, color, sound
Sweet Light  1977, 9:08 min, color, sound
Palm Trees on the Moon  1977, 26:06 min, color, sound
The Reflecting Pool - Collected Work 1977-80  1977-80, 62 min, color, sound
The Reflecting Pool  1977-79, 7 min, color, sound
Moonblood  1977-79, 12:48 min, color, sound
Silent Life  1979, 13:14 min, color,  sound
Ancient of Days  1979-81, 12:21 min, color, sound
Vegetable Memory  1978-80, 15:13 min, color, sound
Chott el-Djerid (A Portrait in Light and Heat)  1979, 28 min, color, sound
Sodium Vapor (including Constellation and Oracle)  1979, released 1986, 14:41 min, color, sound
Hatsu Yume (First Dream)  1981, 56 min, color, sound
Anthem  1983, 11:30 min, color, sound
Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House  1983, 19:11 min, b&w, sound
Reverse Television -- Portraits of Viewers (Compilation Tape)  1984, 15 min, color, sound
 I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like  1986, 89 min, color, sound
Angel's Gate  1989, 4:50 min, color, sound
The Passing  1991, 54:13 min, b&w, sound
Déserts  1994, 26 min, color, sound

  Bill Viola: Territorio Do Invisiel (Site of  the Unseen) 1994, 26 min, color, sound
 
Bill Viola. Paris: Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1983. Texts by Anne-Marie Duguet, John G. Hanhardt, Kathy Huffman, Suzanne Page, and Bill Viola, and an interview with the artist by Deirdre Boyle.
London, Barbara, ed. Bill Viola: Installations and Videotapes. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1987. Texts by J. Hoberman, Donald Kuspit, and Bill Viola.
Pühringer, Alexander, ed. Bill Viola. Salzburg: Salzburger Kunstverein, 1994. Texts by Friedemann Malsch, Celia Montolió, Otto Neumaier, and Bill Viola, and an interview with the artist by Otto Neumaier and Alexander Pühringer.
Ross, David, ed. Bill Viola. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1997. Texts by Peter Sellers and Jim Hoberman.
Violette, Robert, ed. Bill Viola Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House: Writings 1973-1994. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995.

Publié dans Biographies

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