COPENHAGEN.- Copenhagen Contemporary
presents American artist Bill Violas latest large scale work Inverted Birth (2014) for the first time in Denmark. Bill Viola is recognised as a pioneer in the medium of video art, known for his iconic, large-scale, slow-motion immersive video works produced over a 40-year career. Inverted Birth is a prime example of how Violas technically innovative installations have transcended the video genre. Towering to a monumental height of 5 meters, Inverted Birth explores the power of human emotions and the very nature of our existence; life, death, birth and rebirth. Birth is not a beginning, death is not an end, as Viola has remarked, quoting from Chuang Tzu (370287 BC).
Bill Violas installations depict human beings under extreme pressure, ascending and descending, in water and fire, in motion and at rest. His images are strikingly beautiful, composed by the hand of a master in control of a wide range of tools and a rich palette, creating a direct emotional appeal to the heart of the viewer.
Viola writes about his latest work:
Inverted Birth depicts five stages of awakening through a series of violent transformations. A man stands in the darkness, drenched in black fluid, the sound of drips punctuating the hollow sound of an empty space. Gradually the fluid begins to rise and as the movement escalates, the flow upward becomes a roaring deluge. The dark despair of black turns to fear as the liquid changes to red but the man remains strong. With the flow of white liquid comes relief and nurturing, followed by the purification of cleansing water. Finally, a soft mist brings acceptance, awakening, and birth. The fluids represent the essence of human life: earth, blood, milk, water, and air, and the life cycle from birth to death, here inverted into a transformation from darkness to light.
CCs Project Director Jens Erik Sørensen, who has a long professional friendship with Bill Viola, comments: For many years I have been a big admirer of Bill Violas amazing and unique video art. It is therefore a great honour to be a ble to present Inverted Birth here at CC, right in the centre of the D anish capital. For Denmark and D anish art museums it was an important step forward, when A RoS Museum in col l aboration with the New Carlsberg Foundation, back in 2001, a c quired Bill Violas five screen installation: Five Angels for the Millennium (2001). It was Bill Violas first representation in Denmark, and with Inverted Birth we are now able to present one of his latest big scale video works .
Bill Viola was born in New York in 1951 and graduated from Syracuse University in 1973. A seminal figure in the field of video art, he has been creating installations, films, sound environments, flat panel video pieces and works for concerts, opera and sacred spaces for over four decades. Viola represented the US at the Venice Biennale in 1995. Other key solo exhibitions include: Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance , Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; Bill Viola. Installations , Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; Bill Viola. Retrospective , Guggenheim Bilbao (all 2017); Bill Viola , Grand Palais, Paris (2014); Bill Viola, visioni interior , Palazzo delle Esposizioni (2008); Hatsu - Yume (First Dream) , Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2006); Bill Viola Visions , ARoS, Aarhus (2005); The Passions , J.Paul Getty Museum (2003) and Bill Viola: A 25 - Year Survey , The Whitney Museum of American Art (1997).
In 2004, Viola created a four-hour long video for Peter Sellars production of Wagners Tristan und Isolde that has had many performances in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan. Viola has received numerous awards including XXI Catalonia International Prize (2009), the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association (2011), and was elected as an Honorary member to the Royal Academy, London in 2017.