Opening Today: Electronic Renaissance @ Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 10 March-23 July

Born in New York in 1951, Bill Viola is widely recognizes as one of the leading contemporary video artists. After his graduation from Syracuse University’s  Art School, he spent to years working at Art/Tapes/22, one of Italy’s first video art production studios. Here he discovered Renaissance art, which became a key inspiration for his later works: “my new colleague, Alberto Pirelli, took me to the church of Santa Croce with Giotto’s frescoes, Donatello’s reliefs carved in perspective and the tombs of Michelangelo and Galileo. I was in one of the most hallowed monuments sacred to both art and science.”

Palazzo Strozzi is celebrating the video artist’s encounter with Florence’s prized artistic heritage with a retrospective co-organised by Viola, the museum’s director Arturo Galansino and Viola’s long-time collaborator (and wife) Kira Perov.

The exhibition features both Viola’s videos and installations and important loans of  Old Master works from the city’s churches and museums, for example pieces by Paolo Uccello and Jacopo Pontormo that directly inspired Viola’s own work.

Jacopo Pontormo, Visitation, 1528-29, oil on wood, 202 x 156 cm, San Michele, Carmignano (Florence). Source: Web Gallery of Art.

The Greeting, 1995. Courtesy Bill Viola Studio.

Masolino da Panicale, Pietà, 1424, Fresco, 280 x 118 cm, Museo della Collegiata, Empoli. Source: Web Gallery of Art.

Emergence, 2002, Courtesy Bill Viola Studio.

Posted by Costanza Beltrami

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