Nottingham's Backlit Gallery exhibits work from the curators of 1976's opera 'Einstein On The Beach', for the first time in the UK.
Although primarily an exhibition showcasing the stage innovator Robert Wilson, Backlit have also brought together work produced by the show’s other co-creators during its development between 1973 and 1976, alongside more contemporary pieces relating to its re-emergence decades on. The exhibition will include Wilson’s rarely seen storyboards for the piece, texts by Christopher Knowles, a musical score by Philip Glass, a choreographic by Lucinda Childs and a stage direction from Andy De Groat. Wilson’s iconic Einstein Chair, originally created for the performance will also be on view, alongside Wilson’s video portrait of Lucinda Childs from his Video Portrait series. This portrait explores the links between Einstein on the Beach and its leading actress, dancer and choreographer Lucinda Childs. Other figures that have appeared in the video series include, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr, Lady Gaga, Johnny Depp and Princess Caroline of Monaco.
The work on display is considered by the opera’s creators to be the DNA of the original stage work and this exhibition marks the first time these works have been housed collectively outside of New York.
Backlit Director Mathew Chesney said, ‘I first saw this work exhibited in 2012 at New York’s Paula Cooper Gallery and since then I’ve wanted to bring the work to Nottingham. Paula Cooper Gallery is one of the international art world’s most venerable galleries and we really wanted to emulate the impact of their New York show, whilst also reimagining it for Nottingham audiences. We are extremely proud to be housing these artefacts, not only because of their historical and cultural importance, but also becauseit is not often that works from international private collections like this are seen in Nottingham.’
SinceEinstein on the Beach’s debut in 1976, it has gone through several revivals to be both performed and reimagined as an inspiration for filmmakers, artists, fashion designers and performers. Constantly re-emerging, it is considered to be one of the 20th century’s crowning achievements.
Assistant to Associate Directors at Paula Cooper Gallery Nora Woodin said, ‘The Paula Cooper Gallery is delighted to see this show traveling to Nottingham. It was originally organized to celebrate the 2012 restaging of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass's ground breaking opera in New York, which has since embarked on an international tour. The exhibition includes materials related to the original 1976 production as well as works that were fundamental to the opera’s conception. In particular, Robert Wilson's foundational storyboards and Philip Glass' score illuminate their collaborative artistic process. The show also includes drawings and texts which highlight the contributions of Lucinda Childs, Andy De Groat and Christopher Knowles. We are thrilled that new audiences will have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the masterwork, Einstein on the Beach.’
Einstein on the Beach began in the 1970’s as a series of conversations between Robert Wilson and Philip Glass. Focussing on the almost mythical figure of Albert Einstein, Wilson and Glass were able to move away from conventional biographical narrative and instead present Einstein as a cypher or symbol of the 20th Century, evoking themes such as nuclear war, technology and the compression and extension of time.
On Saturday 9th May project collaborators Dance4 have invited dance artist and Principal Lecturer of Dance at De Monfort UniversitySally Doughty, to perform her response to the original choreographic score of Lucinda Childs. This will be followed by a talk on her approach to creating new work from archived material.
Paul Russ, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance4 said, ‘Dance4 is delighted to be presenting two events in response to this exhibition. Sally Doughty will undoubtedly provoke yet more thought about what dance is and where dance can happen. After the success of previous partnership projects with Backlit, I am thrilled to be working with the gallery again on what promises to be an extraordinary exhibition.'
Einstein on the Beach exhibition runs from 11/04/2015 – 17/05/2015
Robert Wilson, Philip Glass, Lucinda Childs, Christopher Knowles, Andy De Groat.
Backlit opening hours are 12pm – 5pm, Thursday through till Sunday.
Dance4 will present the following performance and talk in response the exhibtion: