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PRINT October 1984

ROBERT WILSON: IT’S ABOUT TIME

WHEN ROBERT WILSON’S WORK first appeared internationally it was generally seen from a single and limited viewpoint—as a return to the image. Wilson was understood as a proponent of two-dimensional theater, of theater to be looked at only. This was because he came into the public eye at the beginning of the ’70s, when the figurative gesture ruled supreme on the stage, and the body, in its expressive entirety, was at the center of a tendency to involve the spectator. But Wilson’s push was to stretch the visual; it was a recuperation of the grand deliriums of the Surrealist painters, basing dramatic narrative on a simple sequence of backdrops and the unfolding of a tableau vivant, immobile yet in continuous and unstoppable evolution.

With the 1972 Paris production of Overture (premiered earlier that year in New York), which lasted 24 hours and was devoid of truly theatrical action, it was the

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