Thursday, 1 March 2007

'THE BLUE BOY' (NOT) BY GAINSBOROUGH!

An exhibition of portraits by Robert Wilson's went on show at the ACE Gallery in Los Angeles on Friday last, including this portrait of Brad Pitt, looking rather damp and a trifle blue.


There is also - as you will find below - a 'moving picture' version (though movement is suitably minimalist) resulting from a collaboration between photographer Wilson ("one of the world's masters of drama and light") and VOOM HD Networks ("the pioneer in HD television"), the result of which is "a groundbreaking video series of high-definition portraits for the 21st century..."

Hmmmm...

OK, OK... I'll stop making partisan use of inverted commas and let them pitch you the pitch without further interruption!

Over the past two years, Robert Wilson, one of the most exciting and influential innovators in theater, art and design, has been working with VOOM HD Networks as an Artist-in-Residence to create the VOOM PORTRAITS. These stunning works of art, so far numbering over thirty, have captured superstars and royalty, ordinary people and extraordinary animals, in a series of high-definition video portraits.


Each VOOM PORTRAIT is a set piece developed by Wilson in collaboration with his subjects, and draws inspiration from movies, art, history and more. For example, Winona Ryder is the character “Winnie” from the play “Happy Days” by Samuel Beckett (above); the portrait of HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover is inspired by her mother, Grace Kelly’s, role in “Rear Window,” as well as by the 19th century portrait of Madame X by John Singer Sargent; Willem Dafoe is a monstrous creature from a horror movie.

Varying in length between 2 and 15 minutes, the VOOM PORTRAITS seem at first glance to be traditional still portraits. But then, the sitters perform a simple act—a small movement, a blink, a tap of the foot—and the experience of watching them changes entirely. The clarity of HD technology heightens these subtle effects, and an accompanying soundtrack adds an additional element of drama.
So, now you know... Here's Brad...



Ah, well, as the Devil comments in Rudyard Kipling's poem, 'The Conundrum of the Workshops':

"It's pretty, but is it ART?"


[Read more about Robert Wilson's Voom Portraits ; read the full text of Kipling's poem]

9 comments:

Scrooge said...

It is art in the truest sense of the word i.e. that thing created by a few very intelligent people that the rest of us don't get. Or am I being cyncial ? Now if they'd done it with Pamela Anderson, well......



(that last bit was a joke by the way)

Suzanne said...

Huh! The only pretty thing there was Brad's torso! And no, I do not think it is art. If it is, then the dustpan & brush sitting on the window sill in my loo is art too!
I guess I'm just old fashioned... give me a Rubens, a Memling or a Dali...

Qenny said...

I think my imagination does a much better job of having Brad Pitt shooting liquid at me.

I've never been a fan of conceptual art. Duchamp's "Fountain" is only good for its originally intended purpose.

Silly Billy said...

I actually laughed out loud when i saw this - and not in a good way.

Even Brad Pitt does not make this interesting to me. So I doubt Wynona Ryder would either.

Brian Sibley said...

Naughty, naughty, QENNY!

Me neither, SILLY BILLY.

Jen said...

Which century are you in?. At the very least we should be grateful that conceptual art fosters debate about art & attempts to makes sense of the times in which we live or have you forgotten how radical the Impressionists were in their time? 100 years on & Art is supposed to remain at a standstill whilst all else advances? It's worth the risk of failure to express an idea. Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better as Sam Beckett said. Embrace the new,be tolerant of change which is demanded of us all the time in a social context -why not art?

Brian Sibley said...

Fair comment... It is undeniably true that every era's rebels become the creators of every later era's masterpieces...

I just can't help thinking that this is probably more about promoting Voom HD Networks' products than producing 'art', but then art has also always had to contend with counting the costs of sponsorship and patronage...

Scrooge said...

But how do we know whether we cannot see the emperors new clothes because they are invisible rather simply because he isn't wearing any ? I have no appreciation of art,traditional or modern but my definition of it would still involve more criterion than having someone just telling me it is and I'm stupid or old-fashioned if I can't see it. The basic premise must surely be that a majority (or at least a large number) of people accept there is some meirt in the piece. If not, then its time to unleash my poetry on the world on the grounds that, if I like it, you must do so also - unless of course, you are too ignorant to appreciate its undoubted value !

Brian Sibley said...

Actually, your poetry is very good - or, at any rate, the poems I've read are... :-)