Press Release: Grotto

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program


Posted on January 31, 2003

For Immediate Release January 31, 2003


February 28 – May 4, 2003 The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Minneapolis, MINNESOTA—Artist Bill Klaila has created a new digital installation for the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Opening February 28, “Grotto: An Alternative Reality by Bill Klaila” reveals a magical mind that is fueled by a passion for the landscape and an uncommon appreciation for alternative reality. This latest virtual installation is an interactive environment that immerses viewers into the work and responds to them as they pass through it. The interactive nature of Klaila's alternative reality pays homage to the intelligence of the living landscape and reflects Klaila's dynamic experience with the world.

To create the environment, Klaila employs three different computers, a pressure sensitive floor (grid) and modified video game software that synchronizes layered scenes and projected graphic displays. As the viewer steps into Klaila's Grotto the floor grid sends a signal to the computers telling them where the viewer is and how much pressure is present. The floor graphic reads like water on the floor of a cave. Each step sends the water splashing and rippling to reflect off of the walls of the cave.

Just as caves have done since prehistory, Klaila's grotto removes the viewer from real time and space, enhancing the potential for an altered spiritual experience. Klaila says he has just created a place that you might want to visit. Still, Klaila's cave art is every bit alive as that from Paleolithic times. But, in the world inhabited by the artists who, 20,000 years ago, drew the cave art at Lascaux, a shaman mediated the landscape. In Klaila's world, he himself is the mediator. His tool is not a spear, but a computer and software.

Bill Klaila’s previous installations include “Virtual Cave,” which premiered in the 1998-99 MAEP group exhibition entitled “Common Objects, Obsessive Forms,” and “Virtual Bog” that was on view in the St. Louis Art Museum’s group show “Wonderland” in 2000. Klaila holds a master of fine arts degree in paintings from the University of Texas. He lives in Minneapolis.

There will be an opening reception Thursday, February 27, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. An artist-led tour will be held on Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m. “Trialogue,” a discussion between critics, artists, and the public will feature critic Patricia Briggs and will take place Thursday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in the Pillsbury Auditorium at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. “Trialogue” is a joint effort between MAEP and the Visual Art Critics Union of Minnesota (“V.A.C.U.M.”) that is designed to bring together critics, artists, and the public in a gallery setting to explore the creative possibilities of criticism. All events are free and open to the public.

Museum Hours through March 20: Open Sunday, noon–5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday–Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; closed Monday. Museum Hours beginning March 21: Open Sunday, 11 a.m. –5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday–Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; closed Monday. For additional information, call Visitor and Member Services at (612) 870-3131.