“Bill Viola”

Back to Bilbao

October 19th 1997, the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, opens its doors to the public for the first time. From the subsequent architectural frenzy to the growth of the brand, we take a look at the flagship of cultural globalisation 20 years after the inauguration of Frank Gehry’s emblematic design. Happy Birthday Guggenheim Bilbao!   Today, Guggenheim is more than a surname; it’s a brand – a trademark whose global reach and mainstream position have ensured untouchable success. The formula is simple; to build locally and exhibit globally. As has been the case for 58 years now, the dialectic is straightforward, yielding striking results. From New York to Bilbao (passing via Venice), the golden triangle of the masterpiece trend is off the scale. Things have not always been plain-sailing and there have inevitably been some challenges along the way in Guggenheim’s quest to increase their global presence. Whilst the New York flagship, anchored on Fifth Avenue, has stood the test of time since 1959, and the Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal, Venice, has been home to the Peggy Guggenheim collection for more than thirty-five years, conversely, the SoHo (New York) arm closed in 2001 and Las Vegas’ Hermitage Museum followed suit in 2008. The Berlin Guggenheim, known for its radical minimalism (its entire exhibition space was open plan), closed its doors for the last time in 2013. The Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, home of many important pieces, was also forced to close, unable to overcome the multiple hurdles in its path. These closures in quick succession – the woeful result of a mismatched marriage of art and money – were difficult setbacks to recover from. Other Guggenheim projects didn’t even get off the ground; firstly in Guadalajara, Mexico, then in Vilnius, Lithuania, projects for two further museums were quashed....

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The Guggenheim Bilbao turns 20

October 2017 will mark 20 years since the delivery of the Guggenheim Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry. Since opening, the museum has welcomed nearly 20 million visitors who have contributed around €4 billion to the Basque region’s GDP, and generated almost 5,000 jobs, recalls The Art Newspaper. To celebrate this birthday, the museum, lauded for its “Bilbao effect”, is launching a programme of exhibitions, festivities, concerts and performances throughout 2017, namely including, from 3 February to 4 June 2017, an exhibition on abstract expressionist art from the museum’s collection – today valued at €729 million, in other words almost 7 times its initial value. Otherwise, “Paris, Fin de Siècle: Signac, Redon, Toulouse-Lautrec and their Contemporaries”, an exhibition on the 19th century French avant-garde will also be held from 12 May to 10 September, while a retrospective featuring American artist Bill Viola will launched at the end of June and run until 5 November. Finally, a solo exhibition on German painter Georg Baselitz will be presenting works from his Heroes series created 50 years ago. A prize for the local artistic community will also be awarded, with the works of prize winners to be displayed at the museum next...

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Relive your Dreams with Romina de Novellis

Living in Paris since 2008, the Italian artist Romina de Novellis is performing and showing videos of her performances at the Galerie Laure Roynette (Paris) from 16 October to 29 November 2015. The exhibition “To be, or not to be” is showing both her series Fase Rem in which she relives the dreams she had while pregnant, and her series Augurii, revisiting her performance with vultures, accompanied by the video Silent Life (1979) by Bill Viola. Art Media Agency went to meet this explorer of present darkness. You chose the title “To be, or not to be”—a saying drenched in symbolism, even more when you’re dealing with the pregnancy of a human being. For this exhibition, we decided to start with a cliché. Everyone knows this quote, but not everyone fully realizes its significance. In fact, we’re not saying anything apart from about life and death: in Hamlet, everyone dies. For me, it’s quite similar to the Latin “Hic et nunc” (here and now). It’s about knowing if I live or if I die; if I would live like someone who’s dead or someone who’s alive. In other words, whether I would live in Utopia or a short life. We live in a Utopian cycle, as if in a cage. You French had great thinkers telling you that: Foucault, Levi-Strauss etc. For us, authors like Pasolini had the same thoughts, but expressed them in a more instinctive, aesthetic way. In any case, we’re not getting out of the cage. I’m an artist and I live like an artist: my profession corresponds to my place in society. But that doesn’t allow me to be. Would you say that performance lets you be? In its very nature, yes. It requires technique, as with painting or music. We learn a language to...

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Bill Viola at Kukje Gallery

From 5 March until 3 May 2015, Kukje Gallery in Seoul, South Korea, is hosting its third solo exhibition displaying the works of artist Bill Viola. For the exhibition, the gallery is bringing together seven video installations, offering an overview of the artist’s career between 2005 and 2014. The different works all have in common the themes of transformation, the passing of time, and our emotions. Inverted Birth (2014), exhibited at Galerie K3 bears witness to this research. This installation, the biggest of them all, displays a man on whom litres of a liquid with a changing colour and consistence are poured. Submerged underneath this protean waterfall, the protagonist undergoes a series of psychological transformations in which the spectator also participates. Born in New York in 1951, Bill Viola graduated with a degree from the Syracuse University in 1973. He represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1995, with his exhibition “Buried Secrets”. He has held monographic exhibitions at large institutions, such as: “The Passions” at the J. Paul Getty Museum (2003); “Hatsu-Yume (First Dream)” at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2006); “Bill Viola: Visioni interiori” at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome (2008); and “Bill Viola” at the Grand Palais in Paris...

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Bill Viola installation at St Paul’s Cathedral

Martyrs, a video installation by Bill Viola to be displayed at St Paul’s Cathedral, is to be unveiled on 21 May 2014. Showing across four vertical colour plasma screens, Martyrs is the first of two works to be shown behind the vast altar of the London Cathedral. Commissioned in 2009 through the Church of England’s Fabric Advisory Committee, the project cost $2 million, according to The Art Newspaper. It is to be the first time that such a video installation is exhibited permanently in an English Church. Christian themes are recurring elements in the work of Bill Viola. This particular work evokes Mary and other martyrs of the Christian faith. His works have previously been exhibited in other places of religious worship, such as Messenger (1996), which was displayed Durham...

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