Bill Viola Elected Honorary Royal Academician Amid Year of Retrospectives

  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • /
  • June 12, 2017

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Bill Viola – Installations, June 2 – September 10, 2017, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany
Bill Viola
Blain I Southern

Bill Viola has been made an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The title of Honorary Academician goes to distinguished artists who do not reside in the UK. The 80 full Academicians, all of whom are practising artists, vote for up to two honorary members each year. Viola is selected this year alongside Kiki Smith.

Bill Viola (b. 1951) is internationally recognised as one of the leading artists of our time, an acknowledged pioneer in the medium of video art. His works include room-size video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, as well as works for television broadcast, concerts, opera and sacred spaces. This year alone, he is the subject of several major museum retrospectives.

One of the highlights in a year of major museum shows, Bill Viola: A Retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a comprehensive survey of Viola’s career to date (June 30-Nov. 9). Part of a programme of events to celebrate the museum's 20th anniversary, the exhibition traces the development of Viola’s work with some of his earliest pieces from the 1970’s up to the present day.

Bill Viola's work from the last 40 years is presented alongside Renaissance masterpieces at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (until July 23). The exhibition also extends across the city into several of Florence's other world famous museums, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and into the Tuscan regional cities of Empoli and Arezzo.

Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance, March 10 – July 23, 2017, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence

The exhibition stages a dialogue between Viola’s work and the great masters of the past that serve as sources of inspiration for him, such as Lukas Cranach, Masolino da Panicale, Pontormo and Paolo Uccello.

On the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg presents Bill Viola – Installations. In this significant exhibition, Viola's monumental, ten-metre-high video installations transform the architecture of the darkened Hall for Contemporary Art into something akin to a twenty-first-century cathedral. It is an extraordinary stage on which to reflect on the relevance and inspiration of the spiritual dimension in contemporary art. On view until September 10.

Viola’s video/sound installation The Raft (2004) currently features at documenta 14. Described by the artist as ‘an image of destruction and survival’ it was commissioned by the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), Athens and first shown as part of the Cultural Olympiad. It is on view until September 17.

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