top of page
ZOLTAN+MEDIA-only black circle.png

REVIEW

  • Zoltan Alexander

nº34 / BILL VIOLA / MICHELANGELO / ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS / LONDON

Is Viola’s art dated, dead in the water? Is he one of the most famous video artists of our time ? "Life, Death, Rebirth" opens at the Royal Academy of Arts London.






LIFE DEATH REBIRTH

The medium is just a tool in this investigation

Bill Viola



 


Review by Zoltan Alexander


 

Bill Viola & Michelangelo at the Royal Academy of Arts / ©video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA




Such a preachy, pompous show.” Telegraph. “Viola’s art is dated, dead in the water.“ Guardian. “One of the most famous video artists of our time” Fondation Cartier. What does Artlyst think?


There are exhibitions where writing less is better. Not because there is nothing to say, it is quite the opposite, evaluating either Bill Viola or Michelangelo would be somewhat pretentious unless you want to cover five centuries of art history.

Throughout the exhibition two drastically different worlds are colliding; the exhibition is controversial, profoundly moving, yet disturbing. Being biased does not help and the British press wasn’t too kind about “Life, Death, Rebirth” either.


The Royal Academy was trying to convince the audience that they are not comparing the two artists and do not seek to turn Viola into a “modern Michelangelo” and that it is only the subject matter that brought them together. I wonder how much of this the general public will understand and I can’t help sensing a commercial agenda. Ticket sales are definitely guaranteed here.


The medium is just a tool in this investigation” Bill Viola