Yes There No Where

Robert Wilson: Yes There No Where, 2023

American artist Robert Wilson has created a fairytale scene of sculpture, light, poetry, and sound in a multipart installation in the park of the historic Marienburg.

A life-sized, white-painted sculpture in the form of a young girl captures the attention of park visitors. With closed eyes and a slight smile, the girl gives the impression of attentive listening. Her outstretched index finger seems to beckon the audience to also focus their attention on the distant sounds. In her other hand, the girl holds a quill, directly reminding the residents of Monheim of the famous Gänseliesel, a figure from the city's coat of arms. Next to the sculpture, a white-paved path leads to a small, light gray wooden house on the lawn. On the front side of the narrow house, a round opening reveals the interior with an oversized, naturalistic goose figure that nearly fills the house and appears to gaze directly at the viewers. The opening is positioned at waist height, allowing children to easily peer inside while adults must stoop down.

Sound fountains surprise with light effects, mirror constructions, and painting

From inside the house, sounds become audible – a collage of music and poetic texts that enhance the mysterious-surreal impression of the scenery. Behind the hut, a grassy path leads to three round sound fountains, spaced apart on the lawn. Made of gray concrete on the outside, one is surprised upon looking inside by colored light effects, mirror constructions, and Renaissance-style painting. The artistic design here also combines with poetic texts underscored by mystical sounds. These texts are written by the Monheim writer Ulla Hahn, who composed them specifically for this artwork and set them to music with Monheim children.

The American director and author Robert "Bob" Wilson is one of the most influential theater makers of our time. Since the 1970s, he has set standards, particularly in the realm of music theater and opera, and established a new aesthetic. Characteristic of his stage plays is the equal inclusion of elements such as music, text, light, stage design, costume, and choreography. Wilson also works as a visual artist, lighting designer, and architect. In Monheim am Rhein, he has created a permanent outdoor artwork where he also employs theatrical effects. The audience moves through the installation of sculpture, architecture, light, text, and music as if on a stage. Wilson plays with surreal elements, symbols, and references – for example, the motif of the Monheim Gänseliesel – yet he refrains from offering a concrete narrative. Instead, he invites children and adults alike to immerse themselves in a fairytale world during their everyday park stroll and to experience it amidst nature with all their senses.

The installation was created as part of the [extern]sound art exhibition "The Sound – Sonic Art in Public Spaces" of the Monheim Triennale 2023.

About Robert Wilson

Born in 1941 in Waco, Texas, USA.

From 1959 to 1962, he studied Business Administration at the University of Texas.

From 1963 to 1965, he studied Architecture, earning a Bachelor's degree from Pratt Institute, New York.

In 1968, he founded the experimental theater group "Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds."

From 1970 to 1976, he achieved international success with his first major works in theater and opera: "Deafman Glance" (1970), "A Letter to Queen Victoria" (1974/75), and "Einstein on the Beach" (with Philip Glass, 1976).

In 1992, he founded the Watermill Center, an arts and culture center in New York.

In 1993, he received the Golden Lion for Sculpture at the 45th Venice Biennale.

In 1997, he received the Europe Theatre Prize.

In 2014, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit.

In 2023, he received the Praemium Imperiale.

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