música, ópera, concertos, literatura, curiosidades
“I liked the idea of rotating the drama from the stage onto the audience,” says Guillermo Kuitca, “to show that the real drama is happening within them.” The Argentine artist’s new opera-inspired exhibition is on display at the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met through November 1. Guillermo Kuitca: Stage Fright features mostly new works and captures the vivid experience of being inside a theater—whether seated in the audience or performing on stage.
32 Seating Plans, a collection of Kuitca’s multimedia works on paper, takes as its point of departure seating plans of famous opera houses, from the Opéra Bastille to La Scala to the Met. These images are rife with color and movement, as though the theaters themselves were responding to sound.
A multipart suite of drawings called The Flying Dutchman is also on display. For what the artist calls a “theme and variations,” Kuitca drew inspiration from the set designs he created for a production of Wagner’s opera at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires in 2003. A baggage carousel—a frequent motif in his work—symbolizes the wandering Dutchman’s soul, like “luggage that keeps rotating, that nobody wants to claim,” Kuitca explains.
Whether he is recasting seating plans or creating set designs, the 46-year-old artist is steeped in opera, and it shows. (He even riffed on an operagoer’s amateur photo of a Met Titles screen for the invitation to this exhibition.) Theater and opera have played a prominent role in his art since the 1980s. And while he may take inspiration from them, Kuitca is also giving back: his work Metropolitan Curtain (2004) was part of the Met’s first “Art for Opera” event in May 2007, a contemporary art auction that raised more than $1.8 million to support new opera productions. —Alexandra Day
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