Wayne Eagling's 'The Ruins of Time' – Dutch National Ballet

Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, Netherlands


In 1993, Brian designed sets for the ballet ‘The Ruins of Time’, choreographed by Wayne Eagling – a tribute to dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who had died of complications from HIV/AIDS earlier that year, and who both Wayne and Brian had known. It was performed by the Dutch National Ballet/Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam, with music by Tchaikovsky. In 1997, he designed sets for a second version of the ballet, again choreographed by Eagling, with the Dutch National Ballet. Each ballet included a set which incorporated a suspended, backlit stained glass artwork - in the first version of the ballet, it was the Chelsea Window; in the second, the sample panel for Norman Foster's Al Faisaliyah Centre was used.

The great orange form with the blue above it represents the wings of the angel of death, appearing to embrace the entire troupe of dancers. One set was actually stained glass that was lowered in, glowing with light passing through it, glowing with a sense of optimistic possibilities, indicating hope. And in one set, which recalls my 1981 'Two Cultures' screenprint 'Boys', each figure is somebody of my friendship or acquaintance who had died of AIDS, and during one of the scenes, which started with the full corps de ballet, they were all lit when the scene began until, one by one, the spotlights went off and the dancers disappeared, ‘till the only face left was Rudolf’s, and as the light on his face dimmed the last ballet dancer disappeared into the stage floor.” – Brian