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Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi Mixes Renaissance Work with Comprehensive Bill Viola Video Art Exhibit

Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi has opened Electric Renaissance, a significant exhibition celebrating the master of video art, Bill Viola, and presenting works that span his long career and which resonate with the architecture of Palazzo Strozzi. In order to create a unique experience, the exhibition will also include masterpieces of the Renaissance, such as Pontormo, Masolino da Panicale, Paolo Uccello and Lukas Cranach.

The exhibit reviews a career invariably marked by a combination of technological research and aesthetic reflection. It includes works beginning with Viola’s early experiments with video in the 1970s right up to the large installations of the 2010s that have drawn the public’s attention with their strong impact on the senses. In a totally unprecedented layout, the exhibition will also use the Renaissance context of Palazzo Strozzi to fuel an extraordinary dialogue between the classic and the contemporary through the juxtaposition of Viola’s work and masterpieces by great artists of the past that have served as sources of inspiration for this American artist and marked the development of his style.

Martyrs series, Fire Martyr.

Bill Viola, 2014. Photo courtesy of Bill Viola Studios.

Born in New York in 1951, Bill Viola is internationally recognized as one of the most important contemporary artists, producing video installations, sound environments and performances that offer the public profound experiences of immersion in space, image and sound. In exploring spirituality, experience and perception, Viola observes mankind itself; people, bodies and faces are the leading players in his works, with their poetic and strongly symbolic style in which man is called on to interact with such forces and opposing energies of nature as water and fire, light and dark, the cycle of life and the cycle of death and rebirth.

“I am so happy to be returning to my Italian roots and to have this amazing opportunity to repay my debt to the great city of Florence with an offering of my work,” says Viola. “Living and working in Florence in the 1970s, I never thought I would have the honor to show in such a distinguished institution as the Palazzo Strozzi.”

Electric Renaissance is running now through July 23rd.