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Black woman, eyes closed, floating under water in silk top, Bill Viola Michelangelo Life Death Rebirth in white font to lower half

Bill Viola / Michelangelo

Life Death Rebirth

By (author) Martin Clayton
By (author) Kira Perov


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  • A selection of key works by the American video artist Bill Viola are presented alongside Michelangelo's drawings - revealing surprising parallels
  • Accompanies an exhibition presenting both artists' works at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, from 26 January to 31 March 2019
Full Description

At first glance, there may appear to be more to separate Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Bill Viola (b. 1951) than to unite them: one, the great master of the Italian Renaissance; the other, the creator of state-of-the-art immersive sound and video installations. And yet, when Martin Clayton showed Viola Her Majesty The Queen’s unsurpassed collection of Michelangelo drawings at Windsor in 2006, parallels began to emerge. This book presents a new perspective on both artists’ works. Stills and sequences from ten key video pieces by Viola are reproduced alongside fourteen of Michelangelo’s presentation drawings, as well as the Taddei Tondo, the only Michelangelo marble sculpture in the UK and a treasure of the Royal Academy’s collection. Texts by Martin Clayton examine how existential concerns – the preoccupation of many Renaissance artists, not least Michelangelo – are explored in Viola’s often profoundly moving video installations, while Kira Perov provides insight into Viola’s working processes.

About the Author

Martin Clayton is Head of Prints and Drawings at Royal Collection Trust. Kira Perov is Bill Viola's partner and executive director of Bill Viola Studio. She manages, creatively guides and assists with the production of all his videotapes and installations, and curates exhibitions of his works worldwide.

Look Inside
Royal Academy of Arts
21st Jan 2019
260 mm x 230 mm
160 Pages
140 color
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