Bill Viola: Impermanence

Bill Viola: Impermanence

A new solo exhibition by Bill Viola is on display at Borusan Contemporary until 13 September 2020. The exhibition, titled Impermanence, is a satellite show presented as part of the 16th Istanbul Biennale.

Impermanence is the first solo exhibition by Viola in Istanbul and features ten works from different stages of his career. Curated by Kathleen Forde, the exhibition brings together a number of thematically linked works by the artist, which explore the capacity of new media, in particular video technology, to extend our collective reflection on the nature of birth, death, fear, desire, reincarnation and reality. 

Viola is renowned for his fascination with the transcendental and ephemeral, paired with his skill with video technology. Since the 1970s he has made works which tentatively extend into invisible but powerful realms: of the spiritual, of life after death. These tentative explorations are articulated through video; the complexity and contemporaneity of this medium enable Viola to express these age old questions in dynamic ways which are relevant to new audiences. Video encompasses multiple dimensions, whether slowing or accelerating time or opening up new kinds of space. Viola’s work contains both enigma and clarity, and is both transcendent, almost religious in character, and rooted in the everyday.

A number of the works in Impermanence work with air, light and water as motifs through which to explore overwhelming, powerful yet ephemeral forces and the human struggle with them. Viola’s 1979 piece Chott el-Djerid is subtitled A Portrait in Light and Heat and explores the way heat behaves in deserts, dryness and solar energy combining to form mirages which are both disorientating and transformative, connecting those who see them with fantastic, unreachable worlds. The work dwells on the unreliability of human perception and on the narrow lens through which humans view the world. Ascension, The Raft, Sharon and Madison are among works with a focus on water, either as a destructive, controlling power, as a force for creation of new and extended life, or as provider of spaces for reflection and connection to dream states and other worlds. 

Impermanence is at Borusan Contemporary, Baltalimanı Hisar Cd. Perili Köşk No: 5, Rumelihisarı, Sarıyer, Istanbul, TR until 13 September 2020.

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Bill Viola
Bill Viola
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