He’s the undisputed master of contemporary video art, and it was right here in Florence back in the 1970s that his creative career took flight.

Palazzo Strozzi is celebrating Bill Viola with the large-scale exhibition Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance, inaugurated on March 10 and running until July 23.

Through works spanning the 1970s until today, visitors can explore and better understand Viola’s work, which is juxtaposed with great masterpieces of the Renaissance.

Born in New York in 1951, Bill Viola is counted among the world’s top contemporary artists. His video art is fundamentally humanistic: people, faces and bodies are at the forefront of his works. With a poetic and symbolic style, these elements interact with forces of nature—water and fire, light and dark, the cycle of life, death and rebirth. His connection to Florence extends beyond pure inspiration: he lived here from 1974 to 1976, working as the technical director of art/tapes/22, a video production and documentation centre.

Like the great works of antiquity, Viola’s works can’t be seen just once. Each new encounter gives the viewer another detail to ponder, and each work becomes only more poetic and intriguing with time.

Curated by Kira Perov, executive director of Bill Viola Studio, with Arturo Galansino, director of Palazzo Strozzi, the exhibition extends to the Grande Museo del Duomo complex: two of Viola’s famous videos, Observance (2002) and Acceptance (2008) are on display, placed in dialogue with Donatello’s Penitent Magdalene and Deposition, as they all share themes of pain and suffering.


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