Faurschou Foundation is pleased to present the first solo show in Beijing by the American master of video art Bill Viola. In a 40-year career, Bill Viola has been a leading, artistically outstanding figure in this art form. His iconic, large-scale, ultra-slow-motion cinematic videos have been technically innovative and have transcended the genre.
In his works Viola explores the power and complexity of human emotions. His installations are about life, death, birth and rebirth, presenting bodies under extreme pressure, ascending and descending, in motion and at rest. Visually his images are strikingly beautiful, composed by the hand of a master in control of a wide range of tools and a rich palette, that above all, create a direct emotional appeal to the heart of the viewer.
The Faurschou Foundation presents the world premiere of Inverted Birth (2014), Viola’s most recent work. Towering to a height of five meters, this video and sound installation depicts five stages of awakening through a series of violent transformations. It begins with a man looming forth from the darkness, drenched in black fluid. Gradually the fluid begins to rise. The fluid changes several times; from brown to red to white, and ultimately becoming transparent as water. The fluids represent the essence of human life: earth, blood, milk, water, and air, and the life cycle from birth to death, here dramatically inverted into a transformation from darkness to light.
In addition to Inverted Birth the exhibition presents four individual works derived from Viola’s large-scale permanent video installation Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), 2014, at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The four martyrs are tormented by the essential elements of earth, air, fire and water.
The Raft (2004), a large video and sound installation, depicts the reactions of a varied group of people after suddenly being struck by a massive onslaught of water. Using his signature slow motion, Viola creates a scene that unfolds gradually to reveal subtle nuances of the light and color in the explosive impact of the water and the individual expressions and gestures of the figures.
Bill Viola was born in New York in 1951 and graduated from Syracuse University in 1973. A seminal figure in the field of video art, he has been creating installations, video/films, sound environments, flat panel video pieces and works for concerts, opera and sacred spaces for over four decades. Viola represented the US at the Venice Biennale in 1995. Other key solo exhibitions include: Bill Viola: A 25-Year Survey at The Whitney Museum of American Art (1997); The Passions at the J.Paul Getty Museum (2003); Hatsu-Yume (First Dream) at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2006; Bill Viola, visioni interiori at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 2008; and Bill Viola, Grand Palais, Paris 2014.
Kira Perov is executive director of Bill Viola Studio. She has worked closely with Bill Viola since 1978, managing, creatively guiding and assisting with the production of all of his videotapes and installations. She edits all Bill Viola publications and organizes and coordinates exhibitions of the work worldwide.
Faurschou Foundation is a privately owned art institution with a collection of contemporary art of the highest international class, with exhibition venues at Copenhagen North Harbour as well as Beijing’s attractive art neighbourhood 798. Faurschou Foundation introduces the visitors to some of the world’s most acclaimed artists. Art is acquired on an ongoing basis such that Faurschou Foundation’s collection is constantly developed and expanded.
Over a very short period since its establishment in 2011 Faurschou Foundation has profiled itself as a significant art institution that shows art at the highest international level with solo exhibitions of among other artists Cai Guo-Qiang, Louise Bourgeois, Ai Weiwei, Shirin Neshat, Gabriel Orozco and Danh Vo.