Borusan Contemporary hosts Bill Viola’s first exhibition in Istanbul
Borusan Contemporary hosts Bill Viola’s first exhibition in Istanbul

Borusan Contemporary has opened the new artistic season by hosting the first Istanbul exhibition of the pioneering U.S. video artist Bill Viola.

“Bill Viola: Impermanence,” which opened on Sept. 14, features works from different phases of the artist’s oeuvre, including works from the early years, to delve deeply into the world-renowned artist’s practice.

Viola has been investigating the mysteries of the human condition for more than 40 years, employing video technology as a medium that during those decades evolved at a rapid pace.

Each work seduces us with its hint of a grand narrative at work, a promise to reveal to us something we don’t already know about birth, death, fear, desire, or reality. Certainly the works are enigmatic, but with their lush visual clarity, and with the presence of humans and human agency, with some conflict being confronted, the viewers feel compelled to search for the story.

The works are like koans with their narratives, classic Buddhist riddles that are unresolvable, inviting us to experience a glimpse of what Viola calls the “invisible world” where our standard intellectual configurations of existence are revealed to be artificial.

Viola’s work has been shown worldwide and the artist has received numerous awards for his achievements, including a U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship (1980), the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1989), XXI Catalonia International Prize (2009), and the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association (2011). His works have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism.

In this exhibition curated by Kathleen Forde, there are themes that run throughout all 10 works: Immersion, transformation, a confrontation with basic elements of air, and water.

“Chott el-Djerid,” a much earlier video from 1979, addresses the question of perception, and serves to underpin the connective strands of the later pieces. Subtitled “A Portrait in Light and Heat,” it considers the phenomenon of a desert mirage, the dry Saharan lake of the title, and features the near-whiteout of a winter prairie landscape.

The exhibition will be on view until Sept. 13.

[HH] Inspired by Turgut Uyar

Curated by Necmi Sönmez, “They Are Uttered and Left Unfinished All the Loves in the World II” is an expanded continuation of the exhibition including a selection of works from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection last season, inspired by the poet Turgut Uyar.

Bringing together important names of contemporary art from across the world, this exhibition aims to produce new interpretations through installations that strengthen the viewer’s esthetic senses, referring to today’s economic and social problems while forming a special parenthesis for visual arts using the images in Uyar’s poetry.

Ranging from video-sculpture to photography, neon installations to interactive digital works, the exhibition foregrounds “experimental” approaches and the artists’ predictions, interpreted through digital media, visualizing what Uyar aptly described as the “troubles of today.”

The exhibition will be on view until March 8, 2020.

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