Gary Hill

Let It Cry Ice (Unintended Paths). 2019. Multichannel media installation

Let It Cry Ice (Unintended Paths). 2019. Multichannel media installation

Let It Cry Ice (Unintended Paths)

Multichannel media installation

The installation by Gary Hill electrifies the interiors of the San Fantin church with sound and image that spread throughout the walls in multiple sequences. The changing dynamics of three-dimensional images of electric blue hue corresponds with raw electronic sound. The images — moving bodies, animals and natural elements — at times suggest certain scenes or details of Tintoretto’s paintings, but these references are almost subconscious. These ghostly presences take the viewer to a mysterious preindustrial and post-apocalyptical realm.

For Gary Hill, the defining component of Tintoretto’s art is the overall energy, gesture and even speed that envelopes his oeuvre. Hill works much more from the idea of mind space rather than architectural space, mapping the two upon each other. This work comes to terms with recurring ontological disturbances and what it is that we call thinking. The combination of visual images and highly visceral electronic sound allows for a deep synesthetic experience.

Hill seeks to convey the sense of time flow inherent in Tintoretto’s art. It was for the first time in the works of the Venetian master that space from a simple backdrop turned into a medium of emotion. Glowing contours, transparency and incandescence of Tintoretto’s painting reflects his attitude towards light as a matter, which surrounds objects and accepts all their properties. Characteristic feature of the artist’s manner is painting with light colors on dark undercoat, thanks to which the images seem to emit light.

In The Last Supper from San Giorgio Maggiore glowing haloes of Christ and the apostles illuminate all the surrounding space with divine light, making incorporeal angels visible. Likewise, Gary Hill creates worlds tangible by all the senses and able to transform the space around.

Immersion into the darkness is the feeling that one has when entering the building of Scuola di San Rocco after passing through the sun-drenched Campo San Rocco. This experience is both sensual and metaphorical, since the name of Saint Roch is associated with the dark period of the outbreak of plague in Venice. Dim grandeur of the Scuola di San Rocco and its magnificent painting cycle created by Tintoretto inspired Jean-Paul Sartre to write the essay The Prisoner of Venice, where he measures Tintoretto against Titian and draws him as a figure similar to les poètes maudits.

Music is of great importance for understanding Tintoretto. At home he would arrange musical performances on religious topics, inviting friends to participate, among them — the composer Gioseffo Zarlino. The 19th-century French critic Hippolyte Taine compared The Crucifixion by Tintoretto with polyphonic choir. Tintoretto’s persona also attracted one of the most iconic figures of the 20th-century music scene, David Bowie — thanks to his dark rebellious spirit.

Splitting the elements of Tintoretto’s paintings into spectra and neurons, Gary Hill creates of them a new substance. Emerging from the darkness, it allows the viewer to feel the deep essence of Tintoretto’s art in a new way.

GARY HILL (born 1951, Santa Monica, USA), an artist working with a broad range of media – sculpture, sound, video, installation and performance – since the early 1970s, producing an extensive oeuvre of video, mixed-media installations, and performance work. He explores an array of issues ranging from the physicality of language, synesthesia and perceptual conundrums to ontological space and viewer interactivity.  In 2013 the artist had his operatic directorial debut at the Lyon Opera House. Exhibitions of his work have been presented at museums and institutions worldwide, including solo exhibitions at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York; Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel; Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei; Center for Contemorary Art, Tel Aviv; Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro; Fundacion Centro Cultural Chacao, Caracas, Venezuela and most recently at MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology), Portugal. Hill has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, most notably the Leone d’Oro Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale (1995), a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award (1998), the Kurt-Schwitters-Preis (2000).