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Glass by Robert Wilson

Oct 29, 2016
Foremost avant-garde theatre artist Robert Wilson has tried his hand at most creative disciplines in the course of his half-decade career. In true pluralist and transcendent fashion, the auto-didact master...
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Photography by Marie Clérin, courtesy Laffanour Galerie Downtown Paris

Foremost avant-garde theatre artist Robert Wilson has tried his hand at most creative disciplines in the course of his half-decade career. In true pluralist and transcendent fashion, the auto-didact master has applied his uncompromised methodology to everything from furniture and accessories, but perhaps more importantly, lighting and scenography. Redefining opera and dance stages the world over during the latter half of the twentieth- and early twenty-first centuries, Wilson has also worked with major design platforms, brands and cultural venues. For him, life not only mimics art but is art. All elements mundane or particular are given equal importance. Spotlighting a collection of 77 glass works 10-years in the making, Paris’ Francois Laffanour, Galerie Downtown pays homage to the American icon. The seminal showcase remains on view till 5 November.

Developed with Marseille-based Centre International de Recherche sur le Verre et les Arts plastiques for 1993-2004, the multidisciplinarian’s collection reflects a keen understanding of sublimely monolithic and geometric form but also the deeply dramatic implementation of spectrum hues that light through glass can achieve. It is the same collision of material and force that the grand master continuously employs in scenography and for which he has sustained repute. Wilson paints with light. Having established a stronghold – second home – in Paris during the 1970s, he’s resounding fame continues to the capture the awe of France’s cultured elite. It’s no wonder that Centre Pompidou design curator Françoise Guichon initiated Wilson in this refined oeuvre. Though the grand master has maintained a hounding travel schedule for the good part of 40-years, the culture-maker in her own right managed to lock him down for as series weekends at CIRVA. Wilson was always hands-on in the process. She explains what went on in fuller detail:

“For Bob Wilson, dance lies at the heart of the living world, and of his own work. In observing the [glassmaker’s] movements, and those of his assistants, with their endless to-ings and fro-ings from furnace to workbench, creating something akin to an invisible arabesque on the floor, with the motions of the blowpipe swaying in space, raised and then lowered before being returned to the hands of the maestro sitting at his blower’s bench so that he could horizontally turn the glass gob or parison, the gestures—incomprehensible for any layman—of his hand swaddled in wet paper, or extended by wooden and metal tools, the moments of waiting and motionlessness suddenly broken by the extreme briskness of the pace of things, the repetition of the same gestures, in a word, everything in that balletic dance prompted Bob Wilson to appropriate for himself that unknown matter, through gesture and movement.”

Glass Works by Robert Wilson
till 5 November
Francois Laffanour, Galerie Downtown
18 Rue de Seine, Paris

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