Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Burn The Books On Theatre Decoration!" -R.W.

These were the words of Bob Wilson this morning during our daily meeting. As a grandson of modernism, Wilson's agenda is clear: remove all visual embellishment, decoration, decorum, and superfluous detail to reveal the essence of the things that exist in that space. Watermill is a testament to this idea. The materials the building is made of are industrial and visually simple. The imposed palette does not extend beyond black, white and grey. Geometry prevails and gives the structures their strength; ornament has no home.

While introducing the projects we will begin working on over the next weeks, he relayed a story of seeing the thesis work of a theatre student from Yale who found her focus in theatre decoration. While I dont know anything more about this student's project, I assume it focused in any number of aspects of decorating the stage to aid a performance. Drapery, complex lighting, stage furniture, spacial illusions with sets, etc were all surely part of her dialogue. Wilson could not have seemed more bothered by this notion, which initiated his proclamation.

I, in turn, could not have been more bothered by his suggestion. While I have not given much thought to the decoration of the stage, I have indeed given serious considering to the decoration and embellishment of any number of other spaces...named the human body. Without decoration I am unhappy. Without color I am troubled. A life void of these things is unsatisfying to me, and without them I see no reason to continue working. They are the most exciting and interesting aesthetic tools I have to work with as an artist and I demand them in excess.

I wonder how Wilson would feel about my sadness. At Watermill I find the most visual satisfaction in the objects that are on display. But instead of showcasing them in his modernist world, I would rather be given an opportunity to step inside of the ornamentation and embellishment. I want to feel like it is wrapping around me and decorating my life by simply being in the space.

As a response I will do a series of drawings in which I set out to decorate Watermill. I want to give it the color, drapery, texture and filigree it deserves. A true physical manifestation of this idea is not possible right now. I don't have the means. But I DO have the means of putting it on daydreams and wishes for Watermill in two dimensions.

I will share them with you when they are done.


Anonymous Mindy Sue said...

My heart aches. No decoration, no trimmings, no glitz, no fluff, no velvet draperies, no tinsle... it's unsightly. On my drive back from GB today I was just exasperating to my brother that I could no longer look forward and let my eyes be set on the truck in front of me. It was a semi, but it was ugly. My new thoughts of these such things: if it isn't pretty, I hurt. I can't wait to see your drawings.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Mr. C said...

I think a quote from Spinal Tap is appropriate here:

"What's wrong with being sexy?"

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Starkness is not the absence of this student's 'tricks', but rather a staturation of nothing....I've lost my point, but I feel like you understand what's I'm trying to say.

Have fun, it's hot as Satan's Tit-Milk here.

8:48 PM  
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