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Bill Viola Il Vapore

video: 60’
"Il Vapore" is an historic work of the artist, created and exhibited during his Florentine period. A monitor, set in a niche on a stand, transmits the black and white video of a previously recorded performance where the artist, seated, cross-legged on a tatami, filled a metal pan while he let the water flow slowly through his mouth. In the installation, a spotlight illuminates the area of the tatami where the same metal recipient containing water and eucalyptus leaves stands on a hot plate. Now and then, brief bursts of steam fill the air, which is filled with a eucalyptus odor. The video camera represents an implicit invitation to interact with the work; in fact, the live signal is mixed in a fade-out with the recorded video. Thus, past and present co-exist in a work that represents some of the themes that would become central to the work of Bill Viola: the spiritual inspiration profoundly rooted in the human experience of life, the importance attributed to the body, the radically theatrical concept of the mis en scène in a work of art and the technical knowledge used poetically by the artist. Inspired by an excerpt of the Persian poet and mystic Jalaluddin Rumi, who lived in the 13th century, "Il Vapore" proposes an Orientally inspired ritual to be lived in a space of meditation.
On View
V. Valentini (ed.), Bill Viola. Vedere con la mente e con il cuore, Rome 1993; B. Viola, Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House: Writings 1973-1994, London 2005. K. Perov (ed.), Bill Viola. Visioni interiori, exhibition catalogue (Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni), Florence 2008. J.G. Hanhardt (ed.), Bill Viola, London 2015. A. Galansino, K. Perov (eds.), Bill Viola. Rinascimento elettronico, exhibition catalogue (Florence, Palazzo Strozzi), Prato 2017. www.billviola.com.
Photo Credits
Foto Patrizia Tocci
Legal status
Purchased from James Cohan Gallery, New York
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