Discovering video art with the exhibition of Bill Viola at Palazzo Bonaparte

Bill Viola. Icons of light
Bill Viola, Ascension Video/sound installation Photo: Kira Perov © Bill Viola Studio

A minimalist exhibition that will not leave you indifferent

Being closed for almost 2 years, the exhibition space at Palazzo Bonaparte reopens its doors by hosting “Icons of light”, an exhibition of Bill Viola’s works, drawing his 40 years journey of creation. There, you will be able to discover and be immersed in the world of the pioneer of contemporary video art from March 5th, 2022, to June 26th, 2022. However, we recommend to all our interested readers to have an overview of the exhibition as it could hurt the sensibility of some people.

Taking place in the marvellous Palazzo Bonaparte, we can argue that the choice of the place for the exhibition was not made at random. The magnificence of the Palazzo’s baroque style is contrasted by the power of Viola’s pieces of art. In this coherent atmosphere, you will be invited to reflect on nature, humanity, existence, meditation and spirituality, both on Viola’s videos and by looking up, on frescoed ceilings.

Discovering video’s art with the exhibition of Bill Viola at Palazzo Bonaparte
Bill Viola, The greeting, 1995, courtesy of Palazzo Bonaparte

Entering the exhibition, I hope you do not have cold feet: indeed, you will be plunged into dark, in a muted atmosphere where the only lights are those of the videos and some that highlight the frescoed ceiling of the Palazzo. You will appreciate this private setting, especially relevant for The Greeting (1995), which attract your eyes with its colourful nuances.

Discovering video’s art with the exhibition of Bill Viola at Palazzo Bonaparte
Bill Viola, The reflecting pool, 1977-79, courtesy of Palazzo Bonaparte

At first sight, this exhibition could be seen as incomplete since only 13 videos are exposed. But it has been seen as an invitation for all its visitors to take time with themselves and reflect on the wide range of subjects displayed. Some advice: don’t be rapid and try to see all the videos in their globality because the incredible work of Bill Viola, with its slow-motion approach, make minutes feel like eternity. Indeed, the eight rooms’ exhibition are quickly visited so try to open your mind to reflexions in front of each video.

Discovering video’s art with the exhibition of Bill Viola at Palazzo Bonaparte
Bill Viola, Observance, from Passions, 2002, courtesy of Palazzo Bonaparte

Another advice is to not try to rub your eyes in front of some videos: firstly, it hurts and secondly, because some videos are deliberately blurred: with The Reflecting Pool (1977-1979), you will have the sensation of being woken up from a nap embedded in a relationship between a man and the nature surrounding you. Conversely, other videos are so sharp that they will take your breath away:  with Observance (2002), you can feel the sensations of the different people moving forward, as they confront you.

Discovering video’s art with the exhibition of Bill Viola at Palazzo Bonaparte
Bill Viola, Air, (Martyrs), 2014, courtesy of Palazzo Bonaparte
Discovering video’s art with the exhibition of Bill Viola at Palazzo Bonaparte
Bill Viola, Water, (Martyrs), 2014, courtesy of Palazzo Bonaparte

It’s your turn to discover Bill Viola’s masterpieces and make your own judgment. Some may think that this artist totally thinks outside the box while some others may see his work as run of the mill, but in all the cases, I can assure you that you will not be the same entering the exhibition as leaving it. 

Discovering video’s art with the exhibition of Bill Viola at Palazzo Bonaparte
Bill Viola, Earth, (Martyrs), 2014, courtesy of Palazzo Bonaparte
Discovering video’s art with the exhibition of Bill Viola at Palazzo Bonaparte
Bill Viola, Fire, (Martyrs), 2014, courtesy of Palazzo Bonaparte

Until 26 June 2022

Palazzo Bonaparte

Piazza Venezia, 5

Opening Times

From Monday to Friday 9am-7pm
Saturday and Sunday 9am-9pm

Tickets

Full €15 – Reduced €13 – Children €6

mostrepalazzobonaparte.it

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