Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fascination with Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson
(photo credit)
Let's talk about the artist Robert Wilson. When I first saw Wilson's work--some theatrical installations of German Symbolist painter Franz von Stuck's works at the Villa Stuck in Munich back in 1997--I was completely smitten. At the same time, a collection of his drawings appeared on one of the top floors of The Residenz. They lay on felt in gleaming glass vitrines within a room whose wide windows offered both brilliant sunshine and the faint outline of the Alps (and realizing this inevitably increased my level of awe).

Granted, at Villa Stuck, he had some amazing paintings to reproduce in three-dimensions...take this one by Stuck, of the very un-feline looking Sphinx. Or this one, also by Stuck, depicting the face of Medusa.) Sadly, I can't find image records of the Villa Stuck exhibition online, but in Pittsburgh, I have a soft cover book detailing all the installations in bled-to-the-edges full-color. The book's title is the equally slick sounding, Steel Velvet.

Largely, Wilson is known for his theater and opera set designs, his lighting and costumes. Lately, however, he has been using stars (Brad Pitt, Robert Downey, Jr., Johnny know, the in Hollywood crowd) to create video portraits. These I'm less enthusiastic about because, in looking at them, I feel yanked back into the top-loading hopper of Hollywood's endlessly running publicity machine. It's a machine I try to escape from whenever possible. Aren't there other, lesser known figures you can use to create arresting images? Enough with these people. I see them all the time. Tell me a new story with new characters.

Show me a world I haven't seen before. A world as fabulous as this one....
Robert Wilson, still from "Fables de la Fontaine"
Photo Credit

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