Bill Viola: Slowly Turning Narrative

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Bill Viola: Slowly Turning Narrative, an important early installation by pioneering video artist Bill Viola (b. 1951). Slowly Turning Narrative (1992), from LACMA’s permanent collection, is an immersive environment of image and sound with two projections on a large rotating central screen. The work speaks to the universal human condition and encompasses themes of presence and absence, childhood and aging, creation and destruction, and the many and the one. One projection, in color, shows vignettes of society’s most corporeal, social, and cultural selves: newborn babies, children at play, people at work, sickness, healing, commerce, car accidents, celebrations, lovers, nature, death—in short, a catalogue of universal human experiences. The other projection portrays a black and white close-up of the artist’s face, while his voice chants phrases of human activity such as: “the one who lives,” “the one who acts,” “the one who reads,” “the one who talks,” “the one who cries,” “the one who loves,” “the one who dies,” etc. One side of the central screen is mirrored; as the reflective side comes into view, the visitor’s own image is subsumed into the video imagery (both on the mirrored screen and reflected onto the surrounding walls), evoking the fullness of human existence. LACMA’s presentation of Slowly Turning Narrative marks the first time this work will be on view in the United States in over 20 years. This exhibition is curated by Carol S. Eliel, Senior Curator of Modern Art, LACMA. 

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