Covent Garden Knot Garden to Feature Video Art by Jane and Louise Wilson

Classic Arts News   Covent Garden Knot Garden to Feature Video Art by Jane and Louise Wilson
Video artists Jane and Louise Wilson are designing sets for the Royal Opera House production of Michael Tippett's The Knot Garden.

The production, part of the experimental ROH2 series and a co-production between the opera house and Music Theatre Wales, opens April 30, and runs through May 4. It will then tour England and Wales from May through July as part of the celebration of Tippett's centenary.

The Wilsons, who are twin sisters, are known for their charged, somewhat paranoid investigations of public space and institutional architecture. They were shortlisted for the U.K.'s Turner Prize for contemporary visual art in 1999.

Director Michael McCarthy found the Wilsons' work, which both exploits and creates a viewer's anxieties, ideally suited to The Knot Garden, the story of a couple confronting their troubled marriage within the confines of a garden, with a psychoanalyst who has everyone play charades using characters from The Tempest.

Their work, he told the London Guardian, is "a genuine installation; a visual parallel to the score that responds to the inner life of the opera."

Louise Wilson told the Guardian, "In the first act we use footage of the Apollo Pavilion [a 1970 concrete structure near Gateshead] and the Palm House in Kew Gardens. There is some split-screen to get a sense of density and disturbance. In the second act it becomes a lot more psychological, and we have used slightly distorted interior spaces."

The Wilsons' involvement in the production marks the beginning of a new series of ROH2 commissions from visual artists. Bringing visual art to music is an idea currently being mined by other organizations, with such works as Los Angeles Philharmonic's The Tristan Project, a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde that premiered last December and featured video work by artist Bill Viola.

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