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Art Diary

Robert Wilson Video Portraits

15 May 2020

While museums around the world are shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Apollo’s usual weekly pick of exhibition openings will be replaced by a selection of digital initiatives providing virtual access to art and culture.

Robert Wilson, the artist and theatre director, made his first set of ‘video portraits’ in the 1970s: sitters included the Surrealist writer Louis Aragon, the museum director Pontus Hultén, and Hélène Rochas (of Rochas fashion house). In 2004 he returned to the idea during a residency with the now-defunct VOOM HD Networks. The resulting high-definition ‘VOOM Portraits’ depict celebrities like Brad Pitt and Isabella Rossellini in suitably theatrical mises-en-scènes, along with less familiar figures – such as a black panther and a snowy owl. Broadcasting from isolation in Berlin, Wilson has now made a selection of these portraits available online for the first time (five in April and a further five in May, with more to come). View them on the artist’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here

Installation view of Robert Wilson’s Ivory: Blank Panther video portrait.

Installation view of Robert Wilson’s Ivory: Blank Panther video portrait. Photo: © Sergio Tenderini 2017

Robert Wilson’s video portrait of Isabella Rossellini.

Robert Wilson’s Isabella Rossellini video portrait (still). Courtesy RW Work, Ltd

Screenshot of the viewing room for Robert Wilson’s Lady Gaga video portrait

Screenshot of the viewing room for Robert Wilson’s Lady Gaga video portrait

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