Noah Khoshbin on Princess Caroline

This week we have the pleasure to hear from Noah Khoshbin, Robert Wilson's producer and artistic collaborator. Noah has worked very closely with Robert Wilson on all of the VOOM PORTRAITS, and here he shares a story about Princess Caroline's portrait that demonstrates how this particular work is representative of Robert Wilson's artistic style and methods. To help you visualize the connections in his story, Noah has included frame stills from Rear Window and Princess Caroline's Voom Portrait, as well as a few of Robert Wilson's preparation sketches for the shoot.

As with almost all of his work, Robert Wilson’s approach to the creative treatment for the Voom Portraits is a synthesis of cultural histories and images. For instance, take the Princess Caroline Voom Portrait. The starting point for us with this portrait was her mother, Grace Kelly, and her mother's character Lisa Fremont, from the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock classic, Rear Window.

A pivotal moment in this influential film occurs when Lisa, discovering a substantial clue to a murder in the form of a missing wedding ring, signals that fact to her boyfriend, photographer/voyeur L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries, played by Jimmy Stewart.

With it's compact form, the lost ring as both a sign of the love lost between the husband and wife (in this case represented via a murder) and a sign of the future bond between Lisa and Jeff (the wedding ring) is pure Hitchcock. Does her pose as a seemingly guilty handcuffed trespasser in another's apartment give us Hitchcock's view of the constraints of relationships?

Wilson’s appropriation of this gesture and the synthesis with John Singer Sargent’s Madame X, (who as a society woman also has reflections in the Lisa Fremont character), and her eternal gesture bring together two forms of art and history in a powerful way.

The unfolding lighting sequences on Princess Caroline's hands/ring, the upper arm and face, or just her black silhouette seem at the same time classical and tribal, vacillating between a portrait and landscape, reflecting both Sergeant and Hitchcock. With the added Bernard Hermann sound score from Vertigo the result is seminal Wilson.

-- Noah Khoshbin, Producer, Voom Portraits

No comments: