Bill Viola - Visions of Time

29 April - 9 September 2018
Art I - exhibition space
SESC Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil
Curators: Kira Perov, Juliana Braga de Mattos & Sandra Leibovici
On April 29, SESC São Paulo’s brand new venue in the capital city, SESC Avenida Paulista, opened its doors with an exhibition that was especially conceived for the occasion. Shown for the first time in Brazil, "Bill Viola – Visions of Time", establishes a dialogue with the venue’s core concept: the triad of body-art-technology, featuring a selection of works from the past 20 years by the American artist, who is a pioneer in the genre and considered one of the most relevant contemporary artists in the world.
The free-admission exhibition is on view until September 9 at Art I, an exhibition space occupying the new venue’s 5th and 6th floors, ideal for housing exhibitions and art installations that place emphasis on contemporary works. Presenting a cross-section of video installations produced in the past two decades, the exhibition was jointly curated by Kira Perov, executive director of the Bill Viola Studio, and Juliana Braga de Mattos and Sandra Leibovici, from SESC São Paulo.
The selection presents a range of Viola’s work that allows for interpretations of the underpinning aspects of his artistic practice: in-depth research into the performing body; continuous exploration of image technologies, their features and forms of installation; and the deliberation and representation of aspects relating to the human existence, among which are the cycles of life, death and rebirth.
In addition to pieces produced in the 2000s, such as selections from the Transfigurations series, Study for The Path and The Quintet of the Silent, visitors will also be able to appreciate some of his more recent work, such as Inverted Birth and the Martyrs series. Located on the ground floor, the venue’s auditorium will hold monthly screenings of 4 videotape programs showcasing Viola’s single chanel works from the 70s, 80s and 90s, which aim to provide a broader overview of the video artist’s work.
Danilo Santos de Miranda, SESC São Paulo’s regional director states, "the Bill Viola – Visions of Time exhibition takes place amidst SESC Avenida Paulista’s opening celebrations. In line with SESC’s mission, this initiative brings different audiences into contact with Viola’s relevant work while offering educational activities that aim to expand the possibilities for learning and discussing contemporary art production".
Kira Perov notes: "Bill and I are very happy to be presenting this show to mark the opening of a new SESC venue in São Paulo". According to the co-curator "the selection of 12 video works, many of which will be shown for the first time in Brazil, includes the powerful video and sound installation ‘Inverted Birth’, from 2014, a reflection on the essence of human life, birth and death, and the transformation from darkness to light". Juliana Braga de Mattos adds: "By showing Bill Viola’s work and its distinct approach to the passage of time and issues relating to human transcendence, we hope to offer a different view on the tempos of everyday life."
Intensive Dimension
In her piece about the exhibition, Art and Communication researcher Christine Mello talks about Bill Viola’s video art and the works featured in the show:
Since the ‘70s, when Bill Viola discovered video as a means to explore different states of the human experience, his work has been one of the main points of reference in contemporary art when it comes to the intensities and conditions that permeate time, relating them to image and sound, the body experience and the act of being in contact with others.
Bill Viola’s work comprehends the dimension of time through the contact planes established between the body, video and the environment. In his video installations, time is experienced as a vibration, a tactile presence, a duration that activates visitors in space. It pulsates in the encounter between the piece and the recipient’s body, with a vibration that causes a physical sensation of movement, intensifying the contact plane between the body, video and the sensory environment.
State-of-the-Art Features
Bill Viola has always explored the features of current state-of-the-art video technologies to assist with his use of slow motion, extended play, and time-lapse effects. To slow down an action is to experience the inner meaning of that action, and to observe an object for a long time gives the viewer a deeper understanding of what the artist is looking at. Intangible forces, such as light, and the forces of the elements of nature - fire, water, air and earth, emanate from his works and represent places of spiritual expression stemming from a point where East meets West, found in the mystic teachings of Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity. In his immersive video environments, the larger themes of human existence are present, the questions of the cycle of life—birth, death, rebirth— allowing the visitor to reflect on them in their own personal way.


2019/ Magmart | design & development:studio tad