Robert Wilson. Videoportraits

December 13, 2013 – March 23, 2014
Esterházy Palace, 2nd floor
Curators: Noah Khoshbin & Matthew Shattuck
Expert Cooperation: Petra Hanáková

This is the first exhibition in Slovakia of the work of Robert Wilson, famous theater director, designer and producer; it will feature a selection of his traveling Voom Portraits.

Robert Wilson, an American, is a multi-talented artist and a true inter-media creator. Although theater remains his home medium, in the past decade he has worked in other artistic environments with growing frequency: he creates his own installations, exhibits (and auctions), theater production props and stages exhibitions of other artists and fashion houses (Armani exhibitions at branches of the Guggenheim). Robert (Bob) Wilson is in fact a mainstream, multi-media artist, a first class artistic celebrity who flies around the world, increasingly moving among theater, film and gallery work. Previously a radical avant-gardist, today Wilson mainly works with adaptations of classical pieces (he recently directed Leoš Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová and Karel Čapek’s Věc Makropulos (The Makropulos Affair) and he is preparing a production of 1914).

Wilson’s portraits, usually displayed in galleries and always in perfect arrangements, represent noteworthy examples of the classical genre of upgrading portraits through new digital technology. They can sparkle in a darkened gallery (as works of “high art”), illuminate rough city spaces (as light box advertisements), decorate living rooms or serve as themes for mobile phone applications... Of course, Wilson counts on this multi-functionality – however, perfect technological support is a must.

And whose portraits are we in fact talking about?
In addition to the old nobility (for example, Princess Caroline of Monaco) they include portraits of film and theater celebrities (Brad Pitt, Isabella Rossellini) as well as shots of beautiful animals (porcupines, cougars (puma), snow owls)... which ironically are even more noble than the portraits of the media stars.
Wilson’s extravagant visual style was always saturated, full of impulses, strongly stylized, campy and kitschy, in its own way. And his Voom Portraits are no different. Their saturated beauty draws from the (traditions) of theater, film, music and visual art while remaining strongly digital and fully utilizing the means of expression of the new media. It is high definition beauty, with graceful slow motion and ideal calibration. We have never had such a high-tech exhibition at the Slovak National Gallery.