ONE DAY: A SIMPLE WAY TO BRACKET TIME
A Look at TIM HAILAND’s Newest Installment in his “One Day in the Life of…” Series
By Tyler Malone
The last time I spoke with Tim Hailand, he was signing copies of his One Day in the Life of Rufus Wainwright with that book’s subject at Marc Jacobs’ Bookmarc in the West Village. He had previously produced books exploring one day in the lives of Scissor Sister Jake Shears and actor Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter). Tim Hailand’s new book takes his One Day in the Life… series in a new direction; instead of just focusing on one day in the life of one specific artist/celebrity, he looks at a day in the life of a performance. He documents Robert Wilson’s production of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, which is itself a portrait, and so the book becomes a portrait of a portrait. By focusing on Robert Wilson and his production of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, it not only looks at Wilson, but it also showcases Marina Abramovic herself, as well as Willem Defoe and Antony Hegarty. One Day in the Life of Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic is not just the next installment of a fascinating photography series, but also an indispensable look behind-the-scenes of a fascinating artistic performance put on by a handful of phenomenal artists.
Tyler Malone: How did you get involved with Robert Wilson and Marina Abramovic?
Tim Hailand: I am greatly inspired by both Bob [Robert Wilson] and Marina’s work. When I heard of this stage production I knew it would make a great book. Jorn Weisbrodt made the introduction for me.
TM: This One Day in the Life of… series has, thus far, been of individuals (namely Daniel Radcliffe, Jake Shears, and Rufus Wainwright), what made you center it around an entire performance this time instead of one individual?
TH: I’m most interested in what creative people actually do, and the stage work of Robert Wilson is very much him–it’s a portrait of his work, and of the people who collectively create his work.
TM: Who do you consider more of the centerpiece of this book? Robert Wilson or Marina Abramovic? is there a center?
TH: It starts with Bob drawing in his hotel room in the morning. Bob told me that drawing is the basis of his practice. Marina asked Bob to create a portrait of her life (and death) and I have created a portrait of Bob’s stage portrait of Marina. I would say that all people involved in the production and the day are the center. The work and the humanity are the “center” for me.
TM: What was the most interesting part of the day for you? Or your favorite photo from the day?
TH: I had never met Bob or Marina before this day. I loved being around Bob, taking with him, hearing his stories–he is such a smart and interesting person–so for me it was great to spend so much time with him. I think in a sense the cover image of the book is one of the strongest, I also very much like the image of Bob and Antony and Billy Basinski watching the performers on stage as they sit in the audience–it tells a good story.
TM: Willem Defoe, at the end of the book wrote, “I always felt like we were animals or objects in a landscape Bob paints with color and light.” And yet, you’re in a way painting Bob with color and light. It becomes a landscape of a landscape, or a portrait of a portrait. Could you expound on that idea a bit?
TH: Well, one of the great things about being able to photograph a Robert Wilson piece is that he is the master of color and light and almost linear forms he creates on stage–again the idea of drawing. It’s for sure a portrait of a portrait, and for me in a sense it references my own series of photos titled “photos re-photographed.” I like the idea of “real” and “fake” and theater certainly crosses back and forth over that line–at least good theater does.
TM: Because the sun rotates around the earth in an interval of about 24 hours, humans, since the dawn of time, have used the “day” as a basic unit of measurement. But what does one day signify for you? What is it that fascinates you about documenting a single day in the life of these people?
TH: I think it’s a nice way to mark time that everyone can relate to. We all wake from our unconscious and emerge into the day–do a bunch of things–then get back into bed. I like structures within my work that are very elemental–and a day is one that everyone can relate to. It’s a simple way to bracket time–the time of a portrait in this case.
TM: You mentioned in our previous interview that you shot one day in the life of Gareth Thomas. Will that shoot ever be released as a book?
TH: Not all things that I shoot end up being made into a book. I have to photograph lots of thing in life to see what ends up being the most substantial.
TM: Who is next for you in your One Day in the Life of… series? And how long do you see this series continuing for?
TH: I shot my brilliant friend Joey Arias last year as he performed “Arias with a Twist” in NY–I have to edit that next. Tilda Swinton is the next person I hope to include in the series, so Tilda or Brian if you’re reading this I’m ready when you are!
Tim Hailand is a photographic artist based in New York and Berlin, exhibiting internationally. Over the last 10 years he has focused mainly on portraiture. Hailand’s work is in the permanent collection of The Guggenheim Museum, the archives of New York’s MoMA, as well as the Albright-Knox Art Museum. Hailand is in the private collections of Hilla Becher, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, Pete Burns, Elton John, Chaka Khan, Patti Lupone, Isaac Mizrahi, Stevie Nicks, Pet Shop Boys, Daniel Radcliffe, Jake Shears, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Mario Testino, Rufus Wainwright, and Vivienne Westwood. As well as being and author and publisher, his work has also appeared in Visionaire, Entertainment Weekly, OK, Hello!, The New Yorker, Paper, Playgirl, Frieze, Artforum, W, Time Out London, Dutch, HX, Next, Aspen and V.
Written by Tyler Malone
Photography (Book) Courtesy of Tim Hailand; As seen in: Tim Hailand’s One Day in the Life of Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic
Photography (Event) by Patrick McMullan & Nicholas Hunt for Patrick McMullan.com
Design by Marie Havens
Tim Hailand, COSTUME, Private Residence, NYC, February 12, 2012,
Photography by Patrick McMullan for Patrick McMullan.com
Willem Dafoe, Marina Abramovic, & Tim Hailand, CoSTUME NATIONAL, ENNIO CAPASA, MARINA ABRAMOVIC and WILLEM DAFOE Celebrate Tim Hailand’s One Day in the Life of Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, Private Residence, NYC, February 12, 2012, Photography by Nicholas Hunt for PatrickMcMullan.com
Tim Hailand, COSTUME, Private Residence, NYC, February 12, 2012, Photography by Patrick McMullan for Patrick McMullan.com
An Insider Preview of Tim Hailand’s One Day in the Life of Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, Photography Courtesy of Tim Hailand