Bill Viola and Michelangelo

Bill Viola. I first saw Tristan’s Ascension (The Sound of a Mountain Under a Waterfall), 2005, in the chapel at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park about five years ago. I have since seen it at The Guggenheim, Bilbao, but this week’s viewing at the Royal Academy in London has restored my faith in the ‘blockbuster exhibition’. 

Fire Woman, 2005, which accompanies it, closes the RA’s retrospective comparison of Bill Viola and Michelangelo. Indeed a stretch of the imagination you might say – High Renaissance master v twentieth century video maker. More of that in future posts as I try to put this comparison in perspective.

Bill Viola, Fire Woman, 2005, and Tristan Ascending, 2005, at the Royal Acadamy until 31st March

It is rare to sit in a London exhibition and enjoy the silence and reverence, viewing the work of a very fine artist. Where Michelangelo may be seen as the epoch of the representational form (three dimensions) on a flat surface then Viola has certainly brought the fourth (temporal) dimension to that same two dimensional plane, with excellence and spirituality.

More importantly if you wish to see this exhibition it has almost run, closing on Sunday. So if you have a soul get to the Royal Academy before Sunday and indulge it.

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