Robert Wilson has been described as “a towering figure in the world of experimental theater.” His productions have decisively shaped the look of theater and opera, and with all his work having a profound base in fine arts, his work transcends media and genre.
In the mid-1970s, Wilson began working in video. Later on, Wilson met with Mr. Akio Morita, the head of Sony a few years later in Japan, he shared his idea of life-size vertical video portraits that would break the horizontal screen traditional for televisions. Since that time, Wilson’s portraits drew considerable attention and in 2004 Voom HD, a media company specializing in high-deﬁnition entertainment, named Wilson its artist-in-residence and commissioned his works.
Robert Wilson Video Portraits will showcase four of Robert Wilson’s contemporary video portraits. Three of the portraits will be displayed on 65-inch high-definition plasma monitors. The fourth will be projected on the west exterior wall of the museum after sunset. The portraits depict recognizable personalities from the world of performing arts including Robert Downey, Jr., Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jeanne Moreau and Winona Ryder who take on an aspect of their professional lives by being captured in character—but in character inspired by great masterpieces of European art.
The models appear in near-motionless poses, instructed to “think of nothing,” and to limit any gestures to one or two movements. The result is that it appears to be a still image, but one with almost imperceptible movement by the subjects. The videos are created to be infinite in length, so as to eliminate any narrative beginning or end, approximating a still image. The portraits are accompanied by a discreet, individually composed, soundtrack.
Robert Wilson Video Portraits is made possible by the generous support of Mary Lou Peterson and Joye Blount and Jessie J. Knight, Jr. Dissident Industries produces the video portrait works as well as the traveling exhibition.
Robert Wilson Video Portraits
February 25-May 15