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Bill Viola Presents "Emergence" at the Galleria dell'Accademia
"Emergence", 2002. Bill Viola.

FLORENCE.- The Galleria dell’Accademia will present the restored Pietà da Palestrina, the marble group sculpture attributed to Michelangelo and exhibited in the Tribune of the David. On this occasion at 10.00 p.m. in the Tribune of the David the Galleria dell’Accademia of Florence proposes the video Emergence (2002) by Bill Viola in the presence of the artist himself.

This event intends to suggest a meditation on the theme of the Pietà, a central theme in the life and work of Michelangelo starting from his youth (St. Peter’s Pietà), and then repeatedly in later age (the Bandinelli Pietà intended for his own tomb, and the Rondanini Pietà). It does so through the vision and sensitivity of a great contemporary artist who accompanies us in an 11-minute video along a route with a profound emotional impact whose power is exalted in contrasting the pale figure emerging from the water in a suspended silence with the lifeless body of Christ in Michelangelo’s statue.

The screening will be repeated from 10.00pm to 11.30p.m. and the public will have free admission. The video will be screened from Tuesday 20th April until Sunday 9th May 2010 inside the Galleria dell’Accademia; admission to the screening of the video will be with the Galleria dell’Accademia ticket. On this same occasion, on Tuesday 20th April at 7.00pm, the artist will meet the public for a conference entitled Artistic Practice

Bill Viola Emergence (2002)
Two women are sitting on either side of a marble cistern in a small courtyard. They wait patiently in silence, only occasionally acknowledging each other’s presence. Time becomes suspended and indeterminate, the purpose and destination of their actions unknown. Their vigil is suddenly interrupted by a premonition. The younger woman abruptly turns around and stares at the cistern. She watches in disbelief as a young man’s head appears, and then his body rises up, spilling water over the sides and out onto the base and the courtyard floor.

The cascading water catches the older woman’s attention, and she turns to witness the miraculous event. She stands up, drawn by the young man’s rising presence. The younger woman grasps his arm and caresses it as if greeting a lost lover. When the young man’s pale body reaches its fullest extension, he totters and falls. The older woman catches him in her arms, and with the help of the younger woman, they struggle to lower him gently to the ground. Lying prone and lifeless, he is covered by a cloth. Cradling his head on her knees, the older woman finally breaks down in tears as the younger woman, overcome with emotion, tenderly embraces his body.
Biography of the artist

Internationally renowned media artist Bill Viola (b. 1951) has been a leader in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art. For 40 years he has created architectural video installations, video films, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, videos for television broadcast as well as for music concerts, opera, and sacred spaces. His single-channel videotapes have been widely distributed on DVD, while his writings have been extensively published and translated for international readers.

Viola’s video works masterfully utilize sophisticated media technologies while exploring the spiritual and perceptual side of human experience, focusing on universal human themes–birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness–and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as the spiritual traditions of Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism and Christian mysticism.

His works are shown in museums and galleries worldwide and are found in many distinguished collections. Major exhibitions include Bill Viola: Installations and Videotapes, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987; Unseen Images, organized by Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 1992; Buried Secrets at the U.S. Pavilion, 46th Venice Biennale, 1995; and Bill Viola: A 25-Year Survey, organized in 1997 by the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2003 the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles organized Bill Viola: The Passions; in 2006 Bill Viola: Hatsu-Yume (First Dream) drew over 340,000 visitors to the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, and in 2008 Palazzo delle Esposizioni presented Bill Viola: Visioni Interiori in Rome.

After graduating from Syracuse University in 1973, Viola studied and worked with the composer David Tudor, experimenting with music and sonic sculpture. His music projects include his 1994 video/film Déserts, created to accompany the music composition Déserts by Edgard Varèse; a suite of three new video pieces for the rock group Nine Inch Nails’ “Fragility” world tour, 2000; and creating a four-hour video for the Peter Sellars’ production of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, 2005.

Viola is the recipient of many honors and awards including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts, MIT. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, awarded Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government, and most recently was honored by the Government of Catalonia with the XXI Catalonia International Prize. He lives in Long Beach, California, with his wife and long-time collaborator Kira Perov.

Galleria dell'Accademia | Bill Viola | "Emergence" |

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