Robert Wilson: Voom Portraits

by | 30. Oct 2012

Exhibitions and Events

A man from the street, an animal, a child, superstars, gods of our time.
/Robert Wilson

Photo courtesy VOOM HD Networks

We welcome the new year with the Voom Video Portraits by Robert Wilson, a pioneer in the art world who has changed the way we look at theater, art and design.

We love Kool (Snow Owl).


Video courtesy VOOM HD Networks Duration

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 wristwatch.

I imagine the VOOM 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.

Often people ask me, “What are the ideas behind the images?” I do not interpret my work. Interpretation is for others. To fix a meaning to a work limits its poetry and the possibility of other ideas. They are personal, poetic statements of different personalities.

/Robert Wilson

The VOOM Portraits, as well as a selection of Wilson’s chairs, are also on view in the arcspace gallery in Second Life as January 7, 2009.

The VOOM PORTRAITS were commissioned and produced in a working collaboration between Robert Wilson and the television company VOOM HD Networks, where he has been an Artist-in-Residence since 2004.

VOOM HD is a pioneer in the next generation of television: high definition. They have created 15 national HD channels in the United States, and 2 international channels. They are one of the world’s top producers of original high-definition programming in sports, music, animation, news, fashion, and more. And, notably, they have the first high definition channel entirely dedicated to the arts, Gallery HD.


CITYLos Angeles, California