For Theater Pioneer Robert Wilson, Chairs Are Characters. See Many years’ Value of His Stage Furnishings at a Brooklyn Gallery

For the dissident theater director and visible artist Robert Wilson, a chair exists in area, not merely in its relationship to operate or its magnificence as an object—but additionally in the way it’s skilled all through reminiscence and time.

Whereas visiting his uncle within the New Mexican desert, eight-year-old Wilson took discover of the one chair in the home amid the spare environment and proclaimed, “That’s a wonderful chair.” His uncle later despatched him the chair as a Christmas current. This easy wood chair held nice significance for the younger Wilson, who was in any other case besieged by the peculiar presents of his Texas childhood: shotguns and cowboy boots. When he was 17 his uncle’s son wrote to him, “My father despatched you this chair, and it’s mine, and I’d prefer it again.” He despatched it again, but there started a lifetime fascination with gathering chairs.

By the point Wilson was making performs at 27, the collector, playwright, choreographer, painter and sculptor took the chance to create his personal chairs for his productions. He noticed these chairs as having their very own personalities—turning into characters on the stage together with the performers.

“Robert Wilson: Chairs, 1969–2011,” opening November 17 and working by means of January 14 at MDFG in Brooklyn, collects many of those characters in a career-spanning exhibit, showcasing the breadth of the 81-year-old’s poetic creativeness and use of supplies.

A few of Wilson’s characters as chairs embody actual figures interpreted and reworked by means of his private lens, like his Einstein Chairs (1976) of elongated metallic pipes created for his 1976 collaboration with Philip Glass, “Einstein on the Seaside,” or his heavy Queen Victoria Chairs (1974), product of wooden, metallic, odd angles, and adorned with automobile headlights for his opera in 4 acts, “A Letter to Queen Victoria.

These works are past mere props, not solely as characters inside the efficiency, but additionally as sculptural objects that invite interpretation and contemplation—particularly outdoors of their authentic context, introduced on their very own as they’re right here, now.

Robert Wilson. Hanging Chair (Freud), 1969/1991. Steel wire mesh.

Robert Wilson. Gilgamesh Chair (Pair), 1988. Wooden, painted bandages.

Robert Wilson. The Meek Woman Chair, 1994. Wooden, veneers, fur.


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