The Sundance Kid is Beautiful presents Christopher Knowles, the multitalented poet, linguist, performer, and visual artist whose refined yet highly engaging body of work has found strong support from iconic masters such as John Cage, Jasper Johns, and Robert Wilson. Knowles employs a distinctly rigorous yet playful logic to explore the relationships between language, sign and meaning where the stage is fashioned as a veritable illustrated snapshot of Knowles’ world, one in which the artist and audience can join in celebration. The result is a deeply intimate introduction into the radiant and subterranean work of Christopher Knowles.
The Sundance Kid is conceived as theater in the round, defined by a newspaper landscape that evokes in three dimensions Knowles’ text and visual logic. The performance re-contextualizes the space by overlaying the performance floor with a strict grid of newspaper, folding chairs overlaid with newspapers, three sculptures created by Knowles, and a random selection of alarm clocks from his collection. The result lends the impression that Knowles is silhouetted and magnified inside his environment, thus becoming a larger than life character inside his own universe.
While performing his texts, Knowles addresses all parts of the stage, intermittently standing or sitting, facing north, south, east or west. The “open” arrangement of space, which allows the audience to be seated on the floor along its four sides, is a direct reference to the deliberately informal presentation of the “downtown” performance work of the 1960s and 1970s, in which traditional theatrical framing devices were consciously dismantled to create a more immediate, community-based interaction between performers and audience. By adding directional light and sound to frame the set, The Sundance Kid attempts to construct a hermeneutic, landscape-like environment, a virtual extension of the structured logic found throughout Knowles’s practice that acts as a counter-point to the way the audience is engaged.
Long appreciated by artists and the cognoscenti, it is time the wider public is exposed to the extraordinary imagination and creative brilliance of Christopher Knowles.