Best Quotes from Robert Wilson

If you see the sunset, does it have to mean something? If you hear the birds singing does it have to have a message?

Robert Wilson

When we look back at the Mayans or ancient Egypt, we look at their art.

Robert Wilson

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?’

Robert Wilson

My method is much like choreography. I don’t sit at a table. I work in a room with people.

Robert Wilson

One of the few things that will remain of this time is what artists are doing. They are the journal and the diary of our time.

Robert Wilson

In my theater, I’m not trying to change the world.

Robert Wilson

My work has always dealt with a kind of space that allows one to daydream.

Robert Wilson

Chairs are like sculpture.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

I think it’s just my nature. I can’t work on one thing. I have to work on many things.

Robert Wilson

I always thought of the English landscape as being English gardens.

Robert Wilson

My theater is slow and calm, yet my life is fast and hectic, going in all directions.

Robert Wilson

I’ve always thought abstractly – through theme and variations rather than narrative.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

Yes, I’ve been in love, but I guess I’m too involved with myself and my work. I think I’m in love with my work, and I’m in love with the people I work with.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

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.’

Robert Wilson

If you slow things down, you notice things you hadn’t seen before.

Robert Wilson

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?’

Robert Wilson

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.’

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

I think that I’ve always been a kind of structured person.

Robert Wilson

There are schools teaching ‘stage decoration’ as a subject, and they actually call it that. I say: ‘Burn those schools!’

Robert Wilson

When you’re playing King Lear, you have to have a little humour, or you will have no tragedy when the king dies.

Robert Wilson

I grew up in a town where there were no galleries, no museums, no theaters – a very religious, ultraconservative community.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

The landscape of Texas is in all my work. It’s that light; it’s that sky.

Robert Wilson

New York is very provincial. They’re very cut-off; they don’t have an awareness of so much that is going on in the world.

Robert Wilson

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?

Robert Wilson

I think people are looking for an alternative to the fast pace of everyday life and entertainment.

Robert Wilson

The reason you work as an artist is to stay open and ask questions.

Robert Wilson

I had no idea I was going to have a career in the theater. I did not plan it.

Robert Wilson

In Europe, unlike the States, they have a cultural policy.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

Sometimes, when we’re very, very still, we’re more aware of movement than when we make a lot of movement outwardly.

Robert Wilson

My work is formal, not based on psychology.

Robert Wilson

I’m supposed to be the guy who hates naturalism.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

I’m an artist, not a philosopher.

Robert Wilson

The first thing you must know as an actor or director is the space you will inhabit. See the architecture; imagine where things can happen in space.

Robert Wilson

Increasingly, I find myself drawn to classic forms – to Euripides, Shakespeare and grand opera.

Robert Wilson

Everything in Wagner’s work – the music, the acting, the staging – stemmed from the text. Everything served to interpret the text.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

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.

Robert Wilson

Light is architectural. It is sculptural.

Robert Wilson

I did a masterclass at the Juilliard and asked the students, ‘Can you stand?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘Can you walk?’ ‘Sure.’ They couldn’t. They had never really thought about it.

Robert Wilson

I don’t see much difference between living and working. I think living is a part of my work. People often say, ‘How can you work so much?’ I don’t think about it as work. I think of it as a way to live.

Robert Wilson

If we lose our culture, we lose our memory.

Robert Wilson

We’re so afraid to lose the audience. Let the audience go.

Robert Wilson

I want to work with Jay-Z.

Robert Wilson

I think mystery… allows us time to dream.

Robert Wilson