George Tsypin Influences and Views – Research Paper – ctracing07
George Tsypin Influences and Views
Colby HigginsTHEA 36504/24/13George Tsypin Influences and ViewsWith every new work of George Tsypin that comes to the stage, it is a new challenge to the art of live theatre. Each design is bolder and more extravagant than the last. He dabbles in scene design on Broadway, and various operas, film and he is also an architect and sculptor. Tsypin graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute in 1977, where his mind was instilled with the ideas of Russian Constructivism and his love for architecture. He then went on to study at New York University, getting a degree in scene design, and graduated in 1984. As you can see in many of his designs the set pieces are large scale buildings and sculptures which stems from the constructivism that he was influenced by. George is a world famous designer and sculptor that has worked with the likes of Julie Taymor, Peter Sellars, Phillip Glass, and has had a long standing relationship with the conductor, Valery Gergiev, whom he does many operas with. He has designed the two large scale Broadway shows of The Little Mermaid, and Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. He has also done many opera designs all over the world and has worked with MTV to design the MTV Video Music Awards in 1999 at the Metropolitan Opera. He displayed his first one man sculpture show at the Twinning Gallery in 1991 and he also designed the Planet Earth Gallery in England which consisted of many architectural elements, videos, and over 200 sculptures. He has received the award for the International Competition of “New and Spontaneous Ideas for the Theater for Future Generations”. His most recent work is his book “George Tsypin Opera Factory: Building in the Black Void”, in which he explains his ideas behind his sculptures and opera designs. George Tsypin, like Appia and Craig did with the new stagecraft, is revolutionizing the world of post modern theatre with his maximalist approach to design, influenced by Russian constructivism and abstraction.Tsypin is what would be considered a modern day theatre philosopher in the eyes of many. This quote is from an interview with Tsypin about his new book, “The book, I think, reflects what I am striving for in my designs; it captures the movement toward something transcendent that is maybe ultimately unattainable. But I think it leaves that possibility open. There is something unfinished and dynamic about the work. It leaves a lot of doors open.” Tsypin seems to always be searching for and reaching new heights in each design that he completes. In his book he is hoping to inspire young minds to reach farther than he has and he explains the brain work and creation that goes into designing. He talks about the role that space, time, and intuition play in the nature of theatre which are very new ideas in the world of the theatre. When Appia and Craig decided to move into the idea of the new stagecraft they were taking the same leap that Tsypin has been taking for the last twenty years. The new stagecraft was all about moving into a new realism in theatre. Sets were actually being fleshed out and not painted on a backdrop anymore. The perspective was real and not an illusion. Tsypin is doing just that with his works, because he is moving away from the minimalist, and empty sets, to the most architectural, maximalist, concrete, and steel designs the opera and the theatre have ever seen.Constructivism, which developed in Russia in the early 20th century, is a major influence on Tsypins works. Originally it was used as a form of propaganda for budding Russian artists that supported the revolution at the time. The art form borrowed ideas from cubism, futurism, and suprematism and blended them all into one. In a sense constructivism embodies the philosophy, “Objects were to be created not in order to express beauty, or the artists outlook, or to represent the world, but to carry out a fundamental analysis of the materials and forms of art, one which might lead to the design of functional objects.” In Tsypin’s design for West Side Story constructivism is conveyed tenfold. Fist off the set was built on the edge of a bay and there was a glorious half constructed skyscraper on the stage right side. On the building there were fire escapes and many different levels for the actors to play on. The scene is almost like a cut out of a dilapidated cityscape that is a very interesting mix between minimalist and maximalist styles. The design is very skeletal and open but is also enormous at the same time. Tsypin has done this with many of his operas also, like Oedipus Rex and The Flying Dutchman where huge stages and actual ship hulls were used in the set. Branching out from the styles that Tsypin uses, he has a very interesting view on technology and it’s assistance in the world of design. He believes that the Russian Constructivists’ ideas were not able to be realized to their full potential because the technology was not as up to date as it is today. He has used today’s technology to his advantage but still views it as a resource and not an absolute necessity. In an interview he states, “If, in order to realize a curtain idea, you need the most powerful computer in the world, go for it, as long as the real soul of what you are looking for is not lost in the process. Technology, as a design tool, can become an impediment.” George does not believe in taking advantage of the technology at his hands but rather using it as a tool to aid his ideas in the right direction. In the same interview he was also asked about his view on projections coming into the world of scenic design. Tsypin believes that projections are a great aesthetic but that they should serve a secondary role. Being a scene designer that started way before projections came into play Tsypin does not believe that an audience member is able to connect to an image on a screen compared to an actual piece of scenery. We go to the theatre to see real people in real space. George believes, “We go to the theatre to see real people in real space. Otherwise, you can stay home and watch TV or stare at your computer — both projections on the flat screen.” The emotional impact of a show is what is important to him and not necessarily flashy, new technologies.
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(2015, 12). George Tsypin Influences and Views. EssaysForStudent.com. Retrieved 12, 2015, from