William Kentridge is a South African artist known for his animated films and drawings, as well as sculpture, tapestry, and works in other mediums that examine the struggles and emotions of post-Apartheid South Africa.Read More
Often using inexpensive, commonplace materials such as charcoal, pastels, and paper, William Kentridge makes drawings of human figures and landscapes in an expressionist manner. The dramatic stylisation of Kentridge's work reflects his inspiration from satire and artists including Honoré Daumier, Francisco de Goya, and William Hogarth.
Kentridge's work often addresses violence and trauma, and the processes of commemoration and forgetting. In his 2018 conversation with Ocula Magazine, the artist said that, for him, a close relationship exists between the human body and the landscape, 'both in the sense of the work that is done on the landscape, from its defacement and construction—a bit like the changes that can be affected on a person.'
An integral part of William Kentridge's practice is the emphasis on process. For the animated short film Felix in Exile (1994), for example, he made large-scale charcoal drawings, erased parts of them, and made changes. Kentridge photographs each alteration, later sequencing the images into an animation. Throughout the film, the traces of earlier drawings add weight and a sense of traumatic loss.
Felix in Exile belongs to 'Drawings for Projection' (1989–2003), a series of films made from drawings that navigates South Africa in the years leading up to and following the end of Apartheid. Another film in the series, History of the Main Complaint (1996) was made similarly by drawing and redrawing 21 artworks, and follows the story of a white property-developing magnate who is violently beaten and hospitalised.
Though well-established in South Africa, William Kentridge's work was slow to receive international attention until 1999, when his solo exhibition William Kentridge travelled to Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Serpentine Gallery, London; and Kunstverein München, Munich, among others.
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What does it mean to speak? To speak in a way that not only broaches the moral ambiguities of silence, but also probes the limits of speech's capacity to make sense of the world. William Kentridge, the Johannesburg artist and theatre director, addresses this question in a 2018 essay titled 'Let Us Try for Once'. The text forms part of a dispersed...
As I looked through William Kentridge's That Which We Do Not Remember at Sydney's Art Gallery of New South Wales, led by the multimedia artist himself, it became increasingly apparent to me that Kentridge, often described as a distinctive and powerful voice in the global contemporary art realm, is both erudite and generous with his ideas.
MILWAUKEE—The current William Kentridge exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum, More Sweetly Play the Dance, is an immersive 2015 installation: a 14-minute video loop projected on a series of eight screens, 130 feet long in total. The screens unfold like an accordion book, not quite aligning, leaving small gaps that create page breaks in...
Does art have the power to affect people’s view of war and politics? In the years during and following the first world war, art did its best to reflect the desolation and sense of waste prompted by the monstrous number of lives lost between 1914 and 1918. Art and literature portrayed a world that had fallen apart and lost its moorings to meaning:...