Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The latest project: Leonardo da Vinci & Bill Viola

Its been days of little sleep, great espresso, and impassioned meetings with fantastic Italians about this incredible exhibition which opens to the public on December 3rd. This is a RARE opportunity to be close to Leonardo's work in a very intimate setting alongside the contemporary video work of Bill Viola. A very smart and interesting contrast.

There is very much an Italian connection right now. I left the
Istituto Italiano di Cultura this afternoon where we were meeting about the opening event, and then Fedexed a great deal of beautiful clothing samples from my designers to Vogue Italia for another shoot with Steven Meisel.

Detail from Leonardo da Vinci's "The Angel in the Flesh" Istituto Italiano di Cultura.
The Last Angel, Bill Viola, 2002, video, 9:00 min, Studio Bill Viola.

LOS ANGELES, CA— November, 25, 2009—The controversial drawing the “Angel in the Flesh” (c. 1513-1515), discovered in1990, will appear in its unique splendor at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Italian Cultural Institute) of Los Angeles December 3-12, 2009. It is a truly historical moment as this is the first time ever that the “Angel in the Flesh” (formerly in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle) will be shown on the West coast before it returns to Europe. Under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic of Italy and organized in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles, Leonardo da Vinci and Bill Viola’s exhibition concludes the 9th Italian Language Week dedicated to Arts, Science and Technology.

Drawn with black chalk on rough, blue paper, like many of Leonardo's late anatomy studies in Windsor, the “Angel in the Flesh” is a masterpiece which was the object of scrupulous studies and interpretations by major art historians, psychologists and psychoanalysts.

Also part of the two-week exhibition is Leonardo’s “Theatre Sheet” (c. 1506-1508, from the “Codex Atlanticus”), which includes its two fragments, cut out of it in the late sixteenth century, now next to each other at last. “Theatre Sheet” shows Leonardo as a master in theatrical arts, set design and music.

Installed alongside Leonardo’s works at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles will be “The Last Angel” (2002) a work featuring slow motion imagery of an angelic figure in water by celebrated video artist Bill Viola, who is also part of MOCA’s new 30th Anniversary exhibition. Starting in the early 1990s Viola created a series of pieces involving figures plunging into and emerging out of a shadowy underwater realm. Representing the threshold between birth and death, the undulating surface of the water and its reflective properties were transformed into a moving image canvas where time and space were inverted and reversed. “The Last Angel” is the final work in this series. It is kindly lent to the exhibition by Bill Viola Studio.

The exhibition is free and open to the public December 3-12, 2009 10AM-6PM daily.
Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles 1023 Hilgard Avenue (Westwood) Los Angeles, CA 90024

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