Monday, August 4, 2008

Do I go (about Bill Viola)?

Right before we got to Poland last year, another Bill Viola exhibition closed. It crushed me to find how close I was to the exhibition just missing it by a few weeks and a short train ride. As I've written before, I consider Viola to be one of the most important American filmmakers especially for those interested in spirituality. I have yet to encounter someone who took his work on their terms who was not moved by them.

The majority of criticisms I hear are on the cliche nature of the discussion of his work, but I've yet to come across a valid argument for the devaluation of his installations or video work.

Do to the nature of installations, access to such video work is severely encumbered for those of us hicks who are moved by the avant-garde.

So we're moving (and international moves are quite severe, aren't they?), and less than an hour ago I finished a grueling shoot and just now I sat down to read an email advertising another Bill Viola exhibition in Gdansk (we're about 7 hours away). The opening is Friday. We leave Sunday evening after church.

So much stress, and yet I can't imagine being able and not going.

I will almost surely not go, but I wonder how much sleep I'll lose if I don't.


Sara said...

I don't know anything about this guy you're talking about...but I feel like saying, "do it!! DO IT!" and fully supporting you. If I was there I would pack your house and watch your kid so you could go do this.

Kayela said...

I second Sara's comment. Plus, I think, wouldn't Sara and Anna and I have fun?

Adam K. K. Figueira said...

I'm also inclined to encourage you in this, Trevor. I'm as ignorant as can be on Bill Viola, but I get a sense of what it would mean to you to go. On the other hand, I know how many times I've not gone to things like this and mourned it for a while, but then been happy for the gain in family time.

I know this may not mean much, seeing as we've never met, but I echo Sara's comment about doing what I could to help you were I there.

FYI - I'm sitting in the hospital while my wife tries to sleep in preparation for the delivery of our first son. It should only be a matter of hours...

Good luck.

Megan said...

You have probably read Cynthia Freeland's essay on Viola, 'Piercing To Our Inaccessible, Inmost Parts.' That title seems to be an appropriate way to describe the way many feel about Viola's work. And I include myself in that group. It's a shame you can't go to experience that and also, as you've suggested, it's so important to see these works while they are available. But I am also often surprised at the varied places you can see his work throughout the world. Other opportunities will come up.