Bill Viola to Take Over Palazzo Strozzi in 2017

Words by Elena Scarpa
September 6, 2016

Starting 10 March 2017 the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi will be introducing Florentine public to Bill Viola, a major exhibition celebrating American artist Bill Viola, the undisputed master of contemporary video art.

Bill Viola will involve Palazzo Strozzi in its entirety as a single exhibition area combining the Piano Nobile and the Strozzina undercroft. Viola takes his inspiration from the art of the old masters and the exhibition will be hosting a wealth of video installations produced in the course of his career, testifying to the power and verve of his art as it interacts with the story of Palazzo Strozzi and of Florence.

Bill Viola, who was born in New York in 1951 and is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest and most celebrated contemporary artists, has been creating video installations, sound environments and visual and musical performances for over forty years, offering the public a spectacular experience of immersion in space, image and sound. Combining intense technological research with a profound sense of aesthetics, Viola’s work captures visitors’ attention without the need for any form of mediation, conjugating strong emotional and sensoral experience with an in-depth exploration of art history. Probing spirituality, experience and perception, Viola investigates mankind: people, bodies and faces are invariably the leading players in his work, which is characterised by a poetic and strongly symbolic style where man is called on to interact with such forces and energies of nature as water and fire, light and dark, or the cycle of life and rebirth.

Holding an exhibition of Bill Viola’s work at Palazzo Strozzi is also a way of celebrating the artist’s special relationship with the city of Florence. It was here that the artist first set out on his lightning career in the field of video art when he was the technical director of Maria Gloria Conti Bicocchi’s video production and documentation studio art/tapes/22 from 1974 to 1976.


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