THE ROAD TO THE SPIRITUALITY OF BILL VIOLA

We propose a tour of some desacralised churches in Cuenca to start a journey that invites to withdrawal and the search for spirituality through the work of Bill Viola. The Church of San Andrés, the Convent of Las Angélicas (now turned into the Cruz Novillo Art Center) and the Church of San Miguel, to which the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art and the Museum of Holy Week joint, are the spaces that host 16 pieces of this creator in love with video art.

Frames from “Fire Woman”, 2005 (left) and “Tristan’s Ascension”, 2005 (right)

Bill Viola has become today a reference in this discipline, not only for the innovation of his proposals, with which he found his way when video creation was still little exploited; but also because throughout his career a constant discursive line stands which becomes omnipresent and permeates every single piece in an unmistakable way. Today, part of his work is articulated in a "Mystic Way" distributed in these five spaces of the old town of Cuenca. This project, which involves a physical and temporary tour, becomes the perfect match between the places of exhibition, the old centres dedicated to worship and prayer, and the message of his works, which seem conceived for this installation.

“The Quintet of the Silent”, 2000

The search and representation of the spirituality in Viola's creations draw directly from Renaissance classicism and the Judeo-Christian tradition that has marked the history of European art since the Middle Ages. Many of his pieces emulate religious paintings that we can easily relate to our most immediate cultural heritage, both for its composition and for the use of colour and light. The author approaches his works as pictures in movement. The influence of pictorialism is clear, but the technical flair in the making and the exquisiteness of the finishes transports us to a point, suspended in time and space, which transcends everything seen so far.

“Water Martyr”, 2004

One of the star pieces of this exhibition is entitled "Tristan’s Ascension." In it, the artist wants to represent the ascent of the soul in space with a sequence in a blue tone that conveys peace and serenity. The atmosphere anticipates the climax, the enveloping sound of water abstracts us from the world, the blackness that surrounds the spectator leads his sight towards the artwork that, hypnotic, traps us to contemplate -not to observe- this process. Mysticism almost becomes material.

“Emergence”, 2002

This work delves into the relation of modern man with his spirituality, an aspect today largely abandoned and relegated to the purely personal sphere of the individual. However, our cultural heritage is very much concerned with religion, not only because of the importance of our heritage for the immense collections of works focused on these themes and the architectural treasures of the European churches and cathedrals; but also because this legacy is still present in the construction of our way of thinking (and even feeling) collectively, in our relationships with our fellowmen, the conception of good or evil, and the burden today called morality that determines to a large extent our behaviour. Above all, Bill Viola reflects with an addictive, raw work that invites, while doing self-criticism, to recover that banished part of the individual. A mystical route to walk through without haste, with the dedication that deserves to think of oneself as a being.

 

In Art Madrid, we love art in all its aspects. Therefore, on the occasion of our 15th anniversary and thanks to Cooltourspain.com , visitors at Art Madrid’20 will have the possibility to enjoy a free guided tour of urban art to discover the street art hidden by Lavapiés, one of the most multicultural and colourful neighbourhoods of Madrid.

With the code ARTMADRID2020

and your ticket to the Art Madrid’20 fair, you can enjoy "Street art Tour Lavapiés" for free, on days 26th, 27th and 28th of February at 11:00 a.m. The capacity is limited, so do not doubt, book your place at Cooltourspain.com Once the confirmation is received, you just have to go with your open eyes to enjoy this magnificent experience.

Street art is the expression of art in public spaces either in the form of murals in restored buildings; graffiti; street painting or curated artistic actions. What are the backstories of each artist? What are the social issues affecting our city? This social, cultural and educational project was born in 2016 to answer these questions and show the message hidden by the works of art of so many national and international artists who have painted the Embajadores neighbourhood. It became the first daily street art tour in Madrid.

Cooltourspain will show you the Spanish capital in an alternative way and its guides will share their knowledge about the best street art in the Lavapiés and Malasaña areas. In the same way, its Foundation collaborates with non-profit projects and local associations so that people at risk of social exclusion can learn the techniques used by Madrid graffiti artists. The tour lasts two hours and begins at the Valle Inclán Theater Entrance.