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Robert Wilson : Videoportréty

December 13, 2013 - March 23, 2014

Opening December 12, 2013 at 6:00pm

Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava (map)


The only way to truly experience theater is to be physically on one side of the proscenium or the other, or be a part of the more participatory theater where the proscenium has been dispensed with all-together. If these statements are taken as truisms then what kind of legacy does a theater artist leave for future audiences? Video, film and photography are offered as documents of a performance but rarely come close to the three dimensional experience; the sounds as they radiate through the theater, lighting as it wraps around a hand, the anticipation of the audience, the subtle gesture of the individual actor.

Robert Wilson is one of the rare artists who works across artistic media without being buoyed by one method of making. The process of creation transcends a single medium and instead finds outlet within the archetype of an opera, the architecture of a building, the stains in a watercolor drawing, the design of a chair, the choreography of a dance, the rhythm of a sonnet, or the multiple dynamics revealed in a video portrait.

By incorporating a multitude of creative elements; lighting, costume, make up, choreography, gesture, text, voice, set design, and narrative – the video portraits act as a complete synthesis of all the media in the realm of Wilson's art making. The canvas or High Definition (HD) screen is one thing, blending the environmental and spatial aspects of a stage with a new sensibility for Wilson's direction. The medium is HD video but the form blurs time-based cinematography with the frozen moment of still photography. As in the layering nature of Wilson’s creative process, the video portraits infuse references found in painting, sculpture, design, architecture, dance, theater, photography, television, film and contemporary culture. The final result on the HD monitor resembles a photograph, but on closer inspection reveals Wilson’s highly developed theatrical language in conjunction with the startling clarity and precision of HD video.

Given Wilson’s work across a multitude of media, the video portraits have turned into a defining project because it embodies all of Wilson’s artistic languages in a timeless medium that can be experienced equally today, as they will be tomorrow.

Artist Statement: A Still Life is a Real Life 
The video portraits can be seen in the three traditional ways that artists construct space. If I hold my hand 
in front of my face, I can say it is a portrait. If I see my hand at a distance, I can say it is part of a still life, 
and if I see it from across the street, I can say that it is part of a landscape. 
In constructing these spaces, we see an image which can be thought of as a portrait. If we look carefully, 
this still life is a real life. And in a way, if we think about it and look at them long enough, the mental 
spaces become mental landscapes. 
These portraits stem from a work I did in the 1970s, VIDEO 50. I made various portraits, including 
surrealist writer Louis Aragon, socialite Helene Rochas, a duck, a priest I met in a bar, museum director 
Pontus Hulten, Sony CEO Akito Morita and France’s Minister of Culture Michel Guy. Those portraits could 
be seen on TV, in galleries, museums, subways, hotel lobbies, airports, or even on the face of a 
I imagine the Video Portraits being seen in public spaces, as well as at home. At home, they are a kind of 
window in the room or a fire in the fireplace. They are personal, poetic statements of different 
A man from the street, an animal, a child, superstars, gods of our time. 

- Robert Wilson

Installation Images - Slovak National Gallery

Installation Images - River Gallery

    Outdoor Campaign

    Press Conference & Opening

    Artist Bio - Robert Wilson Eng // Robert Wilson Svk

    CuratorsNoah Khoshbin & Matthew Shattuck

    PR Contact - Milosh Harajda - milosh@pavleye.com / +420 774 447 021

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    Press Release

    Press Release Eng // Press Release Svk 

    Press Clipping