Robert Wilson (b. 1941)
Wynona Ryder: Happy Days (2004)
Brad Pitt (2004)
Steve Buscemi (2004)
Johnny Depp (2006)
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.
"Iconic artist and theater director Robert Wilson has created a series of video portraits of celebrities, ordinary people and animals called "VOOM Portraits." Known for his glacier-paced theatrical productions with Tom Waits and Lou Reed, Wilson's now bringing his aesthetic to a video format. The recent developments in HD technology have allowed Wilson to create something like a precise hybrid of still photography and motion pictures. Actors such as Brad Pitt (as a crazy person on the streets in the rain), Isabelle Huppert (as Greta Garbo), Steve Buscemi (as a mad butcher chewing gum on a variety show), Robert Downey Jr. (as a dreaming corpse in a Rembrandt painting), and Winona Ryder (as Winnie, the main female character in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, buried up to her neck in sand) were asked to “think of nothing" and move slowly and steadily to collaborate in Wilson's vision of who they might be."