top of page

Robert Wilson, renowned avant-garde theater artist, on Creative Process

AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT WILSON by Streaming Museum prior to the New York Premiere of “ABSOLUTE WILSON” by filmmaker Katharina Otto-Bernstein at the Guggenheim Museum. Robert Wilson, renowned avant-garde theater artist, is one of the most controversial, rule-breaking and visionary artists of our time. Filmed October 24, 2006.

“Sometimes you say to yourself what should I do next?… you’re trying to think of the right thing to do but quite often you should think what is the wrong thing to do, what should I not do? … and then do that.” … American artist, Robert Wilson


The New York Times has described Robert Wilson as the towering figure of avant-garde theatre. His groundbreaking international theatre works such as “Deafman Glance,” “Einstein on the Beach” and “The CIVIL WarS,” push the limits of time and space, forging images of astonishing beauty, nightmarish psychological complexity, stark wit and haunting emotion. Many have lauded him as a mesmerizing visual genius. Others damn his productions as indulgent and costly. Incendiary, influential, contradictory, puzzling, other-worldly, mischievous, unclassifiable – Wilson is absolutely all of these. For the past four decades the distinguished American director, designer, architect and sculptor has been recognized as one of the most versatile visionary creators of the international stage.

Wilson surprises the spectator with a celebration of the ordinary. His ability to convey complex ideas with the use of simple images and everyday objects is often deeply rooted in his own childhood memories of Waco, Texas. The blue skies, a chair, a glass of milk, a shoe, a tree, will take on a resonant symbolic meaning when filtered through imagination of the artist. His theatre is as mysterious as he is. Throughout his career, he has cultivated and achieved a profound sense of mystery around his persona – part mystic, part showman, at once outrageous and austere — that has made him seem at times to be an impenetrable enigma.

In ABSOLUTE WILSON, Katharina Otto-Bernstein breaks through the opaque image surrounding Wilson to get to the moving truth of the man and his work. The film is an intimate portrait of an artistic genius who lives to defy the norm, tracing the unlikely career of the speech-impaired child, who embraced his disability and created a new form of theater.

For more information about Robert Wilson and his work visit

“Absolute Wilson” is available on Netflix.


bottom of page