Bob Wilson – A Riddle wrapped in an Enigma
Imagine your friends and admirers included the likes of Tom Waits, Marina Abramovic, Andre Breton and Lady Gaga but at the same time you were accused of creating a world of meaningless beauty.
Welcome to the life and mystery of Robert “Bob” Wilson. The New York Times called him the world’s foremost vanguard ‘theater artist and he probably is. Winston Churchill’s phrase of “a riddle wrapped in an enigma” seems to fit perfectly to describe Bob’s work. For it clearly transcends or demands on meaning and language. Philip Glass the collaborator on the milestone work “Einstein on the Beach” laughingly and with visible pleasure exclaims “what does it mean? It doesn’t mean anything!”.
So why are people moved to tears when Bob puts minimalist petrol pumps into a production of Shakespeare’s sonnets? Why is Parsifal wearing a triangular hat? Why does merciless repetition change our understanding of something? And why are Jay Z and Solange so interested in all this?
In celebration of Bob’s upcoming 80th birthday, We will be going on a quest to understand and decipher the mystery of Bob’s art. With the help of Tom Waits, Willem Dafoe, Marina Abramovic, Ai Wei Wei and Rufus Wainwright we will trace back our own experience of Bob’s art. Will we find answers? Or will we be standing in front of a big question mark that will remind us of what Albert Einstein meant when he said that “the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious”.