robert wilson quotes

I think that in my plays you can come in for 20 minutes and get something out of it. I'd like to do a play that would run for days. I don't think time is that important. Nature doesn't hurry the sky, the changing clouds and sunsets.

What interested me was dance - the way that it was constructed with time-space constructions, and that it was abstract. I always thought: 'Why couldn't theater be that way? Or an opera?'

Usually in theater, the visual repeats the verbal. The visual dwindles into decoration. But I think with my eyes. For me, the visual is not an afterthought, not an illustration of the text. If it says the same thing as the words, why look? The visual must be so compelling that a deaf man would sit though the performance fascinated.

At the end of the 1960s, I was part of the downtown theatrical movement in New York that was making work in alleyways, garages, gyms, churches, non-traditional spaces. The idea was to get away from the illusion of the conventional theatre. But then I thought, what's wrong with illusion?

My mother was a great typist. She said she loved to type because it gave her time to think. She was a secretary for an insurance company. She was a poor girl; she'd grown up in an orphanage, and she went to a business college - and then worked to put her brothers through school.

To me, what is important in the theater is that we don't want to make a conclusion. We don't want to make a statement, don't want to say what something is. We want to ask, 'What is it?'

What was very interesting to me about Clementine Hunter's work is that she couldn't read or write, and she has recorded history of the plantation life and the southern part of the U.S. - the cotton harvests, pecan picking, washing clothes, funerals, marriages - in pictures.

I think by drawing, so I'll draw or diagram everything from a piece of furniture to a stage gesture. I understand things best when they're in graphics, not words.

By giving the leadership to the private sector in a capitalistic society, we're going to measure the value of art by how many products we can sell.

Some years ago, I was invited to speak in Houston, Texas. They said I was a founder of 'postmodern theatre'. So I said to my office, 'This is ridiculous for me to go and speak about postmodern theatre when I don't know what it means, but... they're paying me a lot of money, so I'll go.'

I think that opera in Europe is 30 years ahead of America. There is a broader range of material presented to the public. They value contemporary opera.

The first year I was in New York, I met Martha Graham. She said, 'Well, Mr. Wilson, what do you want to do in life?' I was 21 years old, and I said, 'I have no idea.' And she said, 'If you work long enough and hard enough, you'll find something.'

If you take a Baroque commode and put a Baroque clock on top of it, maybe it is not so interesting as when you put a computer on top of it. Then you see both items in a new way.

When I was 12 years old, I went to Natchitoches, La.; it was summer vacation with my family. We visited a plantation, Melrose. And I met an Afro-American woman who was a painter. I already had some idea of what I wanted to do in life, and one of the things that interested me was painting.

Most artists don't understand what they do, and I don't think we have to. Other people do that better - they understand what I do better than I do!

Actors always start with the voice and language. That's wrong. They should start with the body. The body is an actor's most important resource.

My tax dollar, which goes to New York State Council on the Arts, is by and large only spent to fund people from the state of New York! And you want to be the cultural capital of the world?

I met a 13-year-old black child, Raymond, who had never been to school and had never learnt any words, yet it seemed to me that he was intelligent. It became apparent after a short period that Raymond thought in terms of visual signs and movements.

Counterpoint is difficult. I have been doing it since the beginning of my career. But it is not just taking any opposite. It is finding the right opposite.

I don't see anyone for the first hour and a half that I'm awake. I don't like to talk, and I don't like to hear any sounds. People know not to bother me! I use that time to read, and make lists and notes of things I have to do later in the day.

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