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11 NOVEMBER 2011

The Greeting is a film which pretends to be a painting

Bill "Viola's The Greeting is pretending to be a picture, hanging on the wall of the National Gallery, as part of 'The Passions' exhibition in 2003. The context of the gallery space and the badging of The Greeting as a picture give the work something different, making it more than just a film. The significance is in the context of where it is shown and the pretence occurring that this is a picture. Indeed, when walking downstairs in the National Gallery towards 'The Passions' exhibition, it is seeing it hanging on the wall that strikes immediately; I am being invited to believe that this animated film is pretending to be a picture. The analogy is of the picture becoming an actor, pretending to be something else. In terms of form, The Greeting is a film. Therefore, what is it that makes it now defined as an exhibition, a part of Viola's 'The Passions' in 2003? It is only the fact that it's part of a gallery that makes it an exhibition, although in reality it is also actors directed by a video artist into this film, slowed down and with no sound, which is pretending to be a painting. Therefore, it is conceptual art, in that what the artist is doing is not just making a painting, or having the idea for a painting, but having the idea of where it should be staged. The inscribed text of the space in which it is viewed makes a difference to what the viewer or spectator sees, and what is going on."

(Alison Oddey, 2007, p.70)

3). Alison Oddey (2007). "Re–Framing". In: "Re–Framing the Theatrical", Palgrave Macmillan. 1–21.

Fig.1 Bill Viola (1995). "The Greeting".
Fig.2 Jacopo Carucci da Pontormo "The Visitation".



2003actorsallusionart historyartistartistic experience • Bill Viola • conceptual artcontextexhibitionfigurationfilmgallery • gallery space • hanging on the wall • homage • inscribed text of the space • interdisciplinaryliving picturesmetatheatricalityNational Gallerypainting • Passions (exhibition) • performancepicturepretence • pretending • pretending to be a painting • re-framing • reenactmentreflexive foregroundingremediationspacespectatorspectatorship • staged • stagingtableau vivant • The Greeting • The Passions • the role of the spectator • the viewer • theatre-art • theatricaltime slowed downvideo artvideo artistviewer


Simon Perkins
24 MAY 2011

The Purpose and Focus of Research for Costumes

"One of the greatest challenges for any practitioner in the performing arts is to create a believable and completely honest 'world of the play,' no matter how abstract or obscure it might be to the modern eye. A costumer's overarching objective is essentially to create forms of clothing that are appropriate to any and every type of character, taking into account not only the obvious variables of nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation and creed, but also those of geography, climate, occupation, familial and/or marital status, physiology, personality, psychological state, ideology, historical milieu and so forth. ...

Evocative research, the most liberating form of research for a costumer, is found all around us. This form of research, includes the visual arts but expands to encompass highly abstract art, music, nature, fantasy, film, language, demography and sociopolitical perspectives. Used by directors, actors and designers alike, it creates a basic vocabulary of concept and style upon which to begin discussions of production design. For example, one of the first discussions regarding a play or opera might be the director bringing to the table a piece of music or a painting that to them conveys the mood and spirit they are looking to evoke in the production. For example, a painting by Gustav Klimt might have a specific palette and a detailed use of texture and pattern that evoke key emotions from the director and serve as an excellent springboard for a stylized concept. A director could even bring in a list of adjectives that describes his or her response to the play, and a production team would be expected to visually interpret these words. It is the combination of evocative and factual research that brings focus, cohesiveness and consistency to a production design. Finding fundamental themes or through–lines upon which to base the clothing of the characters therefore allows the designer to create a more controlled environment and a more unified aesthetic."

(Linda Pisano, Timeless Communications September 2010)

Fig.1 Gloria Swanson in the ruins of the Roxy Theatre. Eliot Elisofon. New York City, October 14, 1960. © Time, Inc.



actorsartistic practicearts practitioner • basic vocabulary • believability • brings into focus • characterclothingcohesiveness • colour palette • consistencycostume design • costumer • demographydesignerethnicityevocative research • factual research • fashionform of research • forms of clothing • fundamental themes • key emotions • list of adjectives • nationalityoperapatternperforming artsproduction design • production team • response to the play • socio-politicalsocioeconomic status • sociopolitical perspectives • stylised concept • texturetheatre designer • theatre director • theatre productiontheatrical play • through-line • unified aesthetic • visual artsvisual interpretation • world of the play • world of the story


Simon Perkins

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