Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty: Concept and Design by Robert Wilson
In Mia’s collaboration with the renowned international theater and opera director, designer, and artist Robert Wilson, objects from the museum’s collection are displayed in a series of shifting environments. Brightness gives way to darkness. Abundance yields to scarcity. The objects are cast, quite literally, in a new light.
Each room evokes an aspect of life within China’s imperial palace during the Qing (pronounced “ch’ing”) dynasty, which ruled for more than 250 years, until 1911, and combined power with beauty—a golden age of art. The splendor of royal gatherings. Mystic teachings and the sacred rhythms of nature. And the emperors themselves—their bliss and burdens and occasional desire to escape it all.
“The reason we work in the theater is to ask, ‘What is it?’ not to say what it is,” says Wilson. And this is the approach he has brought to Mia. Objects as emotion. The exhibition not as explanation, but as experience.
Contributing Artists: Rodrigo Gava, sound design; A.J. Weissbard, lighting design; Wang Dongling, visual artist; Yang Yongliang, visual artist; Stephanie Engeln, Associate Designer
(Photo: Courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Art)