*photos by Sabine Schmidt and Ironside Photography

 

On January 24, 2013, the company performed original vignettes throughout the galleries of two exhibits: “See the Light” and “The Architecture of Moshe Safdie” at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Our performance proposal to the museum: 

SEE THE LIGHT

In this journey, the company explores the ideas behind specific art—work in the exhibit.

The leading question is inspired by James Terrell’s question about his own work—“How

do we come to the Light?” Using Rothko’s No. 210/211 as a figurative portal, the

audience travels together to three more vignettes about light. A tour guide will lead the

audience to each vignette. The audience can come and go as they like, but the vignettes

will be performed in a certain order that follows a through-line.

 

#1 Rothko

A vignette that introduces the themes of the journey using the imagery and metaphor of

Rothko’s art. The themes we will explore in the journey are:

• Simple expression of complex ideas

• Rothko’s themes “tragedy and ecstasy”, which will recur in a later in the journey

• The use No. 210/No. 211 as a metaphorical portal into the journey.

• Rothko was interested in the relationship between his paintings in a space. The

journey will explore how his piece “No. 210/No. 211” relates to the other art

in the galleries.

*No props are needed.

 

#2 Flavin

A vignette between 2 actors that explore some basic ideas of light and the concept

behind the artist’s work.

• An attempt—as in the words of Flavin–to “explore common materials associated

more with industrial and commercial use,” and…

• “Dematerialize the traditional art object.”

• Literal and Metaphorical Light explored in a relationship between two people

• Language comprised of deconstructed poems, definitions and metaphors of light

 

*props needed: two typewriters (industrial and commercial materials) to serve as a

fundamental communicative device between the actors. The props plant us firmly in a

situation, which will “dematerialize” from the traditional associative state of the object. Also

used in vignette are 2 small stands for typewriters and two chairs for the actors.

#3. The Banquet

This vignette takes place in the empty space near the Exit sign of the gallery. Returning

to Rothko’s idea of expressing the two states of the human condition—“Tragedy and

Ecstasy”, 3 actors invite 3 people from the audience to join them in a “banquet” in the

tradition of Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) while the rest of the audience

watches. We use the convention of this tradition to see more deeply into the metaphor

of light, and into the idea of “Tragedy and Ecstasy”.

• Light as a metaphor for Life.

• Actors share calaveras (eulogies) about Light—high-energy toasts in an ecstatic

state.

*props needed: 6 chairs, 1 6 foot long table, a table cloth, and other dressings for the

table, such as simple table settings (no food or liquid). The environment is more

expressive than realistic, therefore we only need a few things for the table.

#4. Sloan Red

A simple experience wherein the host brings the audience into the light installation. A

vignette of one or two actors exploring these points:

• Again asking, “How do we come to the light?”

• A bookend to the journey which started at “No. 210/No. 211”

• A parallel to “No. 210/ 211” (literally and figuratively)

• Exploration of “how to greet the light”

• Entering the art.

• Experiencing art by stepping into it.

*no props needed

 

MOSHE SAFDIE EXHIBIT

The performance is vignette between two actors that explores the fundamental ideas

and philosophies of architecture while trying build the most beautiful and “fit” thing.

Safdie quotes Theodore Cook on his ideal of Beauty:

“Beauty connotes humanity. We call a natural object beautiful because we see that its

form expresses fitness, the perfect fulfillment of function”.

Safdie prefers the word “purpose” over “fitness”.

The performance is also inspired by a poem written by Moshe Safdie:

He who seeks Truth

Shall find Beauty

He who seeks Beauty

Shall find Vanity

He who seeks Order

Shall find Gratification

He who seeks Gratification

Shall be Disappointed

He who considers himself as the servant of his fellow being

Shall find the joy of Self-Expression

He who seeks Self-Expression

Shall fall into the pit of Arrogance

Arrogance is incompatible with nature

Thru the nature of the universe

and the nature of man

we shall seek Truth.

If we seek truth we shall find Beauty.