press release

La Casa Encendida hosts an exhibition on the stage designer and theatre director, Edward Gordon Craig

The exhibition "Edward Gordon Craig. El espacio como espectáculo" ("Edward Gordon Craig. Space as Spectacle") offers an insight into the life and work of this actor, stage designer and theatre director from the early 20th century. Craig's conception of scenic space played a decisive influence on the modern vision of theatre and helped to shape the work of numerous contemporary directors and designers, such as Joseph Svoboda, Jannis Kokos and Gilles Aillaud.

Curated by Aurora Herrera Gómez, the exhibition takes a retrospective look at theatrical space based on Gordon Craig's work. As an actor and theatre director, he published several texts, including "The Art of the Theatre", a seminal text for the renewal of 20th-century theatre. He also created stage sets, designed costumes and invented the term "scenic space", diametrically opposed to the illusionist theatre of previous centuries in which the text was all important. Using cubes, stairs, segments and other staging devices, he developed new spatial solutions that enabled the stage to evolve towards a symbolist aesthetic

The drawings, sketches and construction and chromatic designs on display in the exhibition all shed light on the scenographer's creative process. Meanwhile, photographs, BBC radio interviews, magazines and other publications provide a picture of his life and work

"Edward Gordon Craig. El espacio como espectáculo" has been organised with the special collaboration of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and in association with other institutions such as the British Institute of Florence, the Gabinetto G. P. Vieusseux in Florence, the Österreichisches Theater Museum in Vienna, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and Paul Reeves and the UCLA Library Department of Special Collections in Los Angeles

La Casa Encendida of Obra Social Caja Madrid presents, for the first time ever in Spain, a retrospective of the life and work of Edward Gordon Craig, (Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, 1872; Saint-Paul de Vence, France, 1966), a pioneer of the 20th century in theatre research and a crucial figure in the development of contemporary theatre.

Entitled "Edward Gordon Craig. El espacio como espectáculo", the exhibition explores "scenic space", a term coined by the author in direct contrast to traditional stage productions based first and foremost on the text. Just as a single person is capable of creating a theatrical phenomenon (spoken or gestural theatre...), so too can space operate independently as a phenomenon, with the distances, directions and limits as the protagonists. Craig's proposal derives from the confluence of the two phenomena: text and space.

The exhibition has several goals. The first is to provide spectators with an insight into the little-known actor, stage designer and theatre director, Edward Gordon Craig. The second goal is to unravel the varied and abundant influences that both nourished and impacted on his thinking. Finally, the exhibition analyses the theatre from the spatial perspective. Gordon Craig conceived stage design as a laboratory of architectures, folding screens, prisms, stairs and segments, achieving maximum expression through minimal, extremely simplified architecture.

The exhibition, which comprises over 200 works, offers a retrospective look at the theatre and is articulated around six themes of particular importance in the appreciation of Craig's work: the native and chosen universe of Edward Gordon Craig, stairs - states of mind I, II, III and IV: a spatial laboratory, the window and the reticle, space and light, movement and Hamlet.

The son of the British architect and designer Edward Godwin and the stage actress Ellen Terry, Edward Gordon Craig saw the theatre as a confluence of ideas from a variety of fields (architectures, voices, laces, paintings, bodies, etc.) and believed that these should form a unified whole to formalise the art of theatre. His work is open to interpretation and brimming with suggestions. Only through the incorporation of visual and sound elements can a written work become theatre in its fullest sense.

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Edward Gordon Craig
El espacio como espectaculo
Kurator: Aurora Herrera Gomez