Liber Insularum Knight Exhibition Series

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© Courtesy of the artist and the Museum of contemporary Art - Noth Miami (MOA NOMI)
Liber Insularum Knight Exhibition Series

770 NE 125 Street
North Miami, Florida 33161
December 5th, 2012 - March 3rd, 2013
Opening: December 5th, 2012 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM

nomi, north miami
Tue-Fri, Sun 11-5; Sat 1-9
video installations, video-art


The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) North Miami has announced it will present a major exhibition of work by Bill Viola, recognized as one of the pioneers and leading practitioners of video art. Bill Viola: Liber Insularum will begin its sole presentation in the United States at MOCA, North Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach, and will be on view at the museum from December 5, 2012 through March 3, 2013. The exhibition is presented as part of MOCA’s Knight Exhibition Series. It was first shown last year at Sala de Arte Contemporaneo del Gobierno de Canarias (Spain). The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Bill Viola Studio and is curated by Roc Laseca.

An iconic contemporary artist who draws from Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, Bill Viola is known for creating immersive video installations that explore such universally human subjects as birth, death, and the nature of consciousness. His exhibition at MOCA North Miami is inspired by The Book of the Islands of the Archipelago, authored by the Florentine ecclesiastic Cristoforo Buondelmonti in the 15th century. The works featured in Liber Insularum (The Book of Islands) use this historic text as a reference point to engage with distinctly modern themes of spiritual isolation in a 21st-century global landscape. Many of the works in the exhibition were produced after Viola’s last retrospective in 1997 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Works included in the exhibition:

Three Women, 2008 
Color High-Definition video on plasma display mounted on wall
Three ghostly female figures of various ages approach the camera in slow motion, passing through a wall of water that transforms their appearance from evanescence to corporeality.

Transfiguration, 2007 
Black-and-white High-Definition video on plasma display mounted on wall
A human body passing through a physical apparatus of water and light evokes transcultural images of spiritual transformation.

The Raft, 2004 
Large video projection on wall in 16:29 High-Definition with 5.1 surround sound
Extreme slow motion reveals the subtle nuances of light and color in a group of 19 individuals as they are struck by an onslaught of water from a high-pressure hose.

Observance, 2002 
Color High-Definition video on plasma display mounted on wall
A steady stream of people move through the frame, their faces overcome with emotion as their gaze fixes on an object in the distance.

Catherine’s Room, 2001  
Color video polyptych on five LCD flat panels mounted on wall
A solitary woman repeats a series of rituals throughout a single day, as depicted across five flat panel screens arranged in a horizontal row.

Four Hands, 2001 
Black-and-white video polyptych on four LCD flat panels mounted on shelf
Four pairs of hands across four small screens make gestures referencing various spiritual traditions, from Buddhist mudras to 17th century English Chirogrammatical tables.

Surrender, 2001 
Color video diptych on two plasma displays mounted vertically on wall
Male and female images appear separately on two screen panels, performing synchronized prostrations of increasing emotional intensity and duration.

Unspoken (Silver & Gold), 2001 
Black-and-white video projected diptych on one gold and one silver-leaf panel mounted on wall
Two human figures expressing existential anguish are projected onto adjacent panels of silver and gold leaf, respectively.

The Quintet of the Astonished, 2000 
Color video rear projection on screen mounted on wall in dark room
A group of people undergoes intense waves of emotion, the subtleties of their expressions captured and enhanced by slow-motion photography to create a subjective dreamlike space.

The Reflecting Pool, 1977-79 
Color, mono sound
Time freezes as a man leaps into a pool of water, with a world of movement and change emerging in the reflections beneath him.


“Bill Viola’s work has long displayed a concern with the artistic possibilities of emotion, connecting viscerally with the viewer,” comments Bonnie Clearwater, MOCA North Miami’s Executive Director and Chief Curator. “Many artists MOCA North Miami has recently worked with — Ragnar Kjartansson, Rita Ackermann, Mark Handforth and Tracey Emin — are similarly demonstrating a strong desire for emotionally-driven art that is expressed without irony or cynicism. These connections, along with MOCA North Miami’s commitment to encouraging artistic experimentation and risk-taking, made presenting Bill Viola’s work a natural fit for us.”