May 13, 2018 - Servico Social do Comercio - Sesc - Bill Viola: Visions of Time
May 13, 2018

Servico Social do Comercio - Sesc

Bill Viola, "Martyr Series," 2014. Video. Photos: Kyra Perov.

Bill Viola
Visions of Time
April 29–September 9, 2018

SESC Avenida Paulista
Av. Paulista, 119
São Paulo-
Brazil

www.sescsp.org.br

The inaugural exhibition Bill Viola - Visions of Time opens at the newly renovated Sesc Avenida Paulista on April 29 and runs through September 9. This marks the first showing in Brazil for the most recent works of acclaimed American artist Bill Viola (New York, 1951): a seminal figure in the history of video art and experimental audiovisual media in general. In their selection of the main video installations and videos from the artist’s last 20 years, Kira Perov, executive director of the Bill Viola Studio, and Juliana Braga de Mattos and Sandra Leibovici, from the Sesc SP visual arts team, set the stage for the exhibition areas of São Paulo’s newest culture and recreation center situated along the city’s most iconic thoroughfare and accentuate the venue’s primary aim to serve as a sanctum for the art-body-technology triad. Moreover, the center acts as an invigorating force, forming part of the cultural circuit that coalesces on Paulista Avenue, the most emblematic avenue in all of São Paulo, itself the biggest city in all of South America.

The exhibition, which consists of a selection of works that partially recount the artist’s lifetime while concurrently alluding to cardinal motifs and concepts, is set up to highlight three main paths: the accurate and constant study of the body in performance since the 1970s; the ongoing technical and artistic exploration of image technologies, extrapolating the resources, uses and forms of installation they encompass; and the discussion and representation of the cyclical and universal aspects of human existence and human drama from the united perspective of space and time.

The public is invited to enjoy the most recent video installations of Inverted Birth (2014) and Martyrs (2014) as well as other iconic productions from the 2000s, including the series Transfigurations (2007/ 2008), with works from The Innocents (2007) and Three Women (2008), as well as Study for the Path (2002) and The Quintet of the Silent (2000). Though different in scale, format and technology, performance in all of these installations is masterfully directed and fashioned in rich detail, a testament to the interconnectedness of Viola’s artistic direction and the renowned actors and dancers featured in his works.

Since the exhibit is geared for a Brazilian audience and embraces Sesc’s mission to promote public understanding and appreciation and to build a repertoire that cuts broadly across the arts, works from the early years of Viola’s long trajectory of audiovisual experimentation—from the 1970s and 80s through the mid-90s—are also on display. In total, the exhibition includes four video programs that will run for one month each in the Sesc Paulista auditorium.

Bill Viola, working pari passu with technological innovations in the field of image production, and therefore the vanguard of video art and audiovisual and performance production since the early 70s built a solid trajectory in the field of contemporary visual culture and has been sweepingly influential in everything from the expanded field of sculpture to the limits of performance. His oeuvre spanned the pioneering use of video and filming processes, permeated by the presence of the body in performance and dialogue; it played a leading role in discussions on the artistic language of video and similar contributions; it encompassed the technological euphoria of the 90s; and reached digital and internet hegemony.

In 1992, the year Sesc and the Videobrasil Cultural Association established a partnership, Bill Viola was introduced to the audience at the 9th festival jointly hosted by both institutions. Now, 26 years later, the well-established artist strategically presents a vast repertoire of recent initiatives: his unparalleled ways of thinking about humankind’s existence on this planet, its experiences and its spirituality, all subject to the relentless onward march of time. Ultimately, they are thoughts and reflections mediated always by the guided construction of image in movement.

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