William Kentridge (b 1955) explores the constitutive circumstances of being human, the human condition, in his work. Suffering, loss, grief, pain, and death, but also pleasure, desires, passions and humor all play a major part in his complex oeuvre.
Aside from room installations, theatrical stagings, and scenic designs, Kentridge mainly applies himself to the medium of the drawing, which he brings to life in the form of animated films. From a sequence of pictures drawn with charcoal or pastels and then photographed by the artist with a film camera in single-frame mode, he creates narrative and poetic, powerfully suggestive shorts. Thematically, they address South Africa’s dramatic history and political conflicts at the time of the Apartheid, colonialism, totalitarianism, capitalist greed and corruption.
In the center of Kentridge’s work are issues of moral responsibility, structures of offender-victim-relationships as well as aspects of the individual and collective memory. Moreover, his strategy of the continual erasing and overwriting of drawn information also thematizes the passing of time. The metamorphic semiotic trace remains visible and can be read as a metaphor for the loss of historical memory or cultural amnesia.
* The full ten-part cycle “Drawings for Projection” will be presented in the exhibition: “Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris” (1989), “Monument” (1990), “Mine” (1991), “Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old” (1991), “Felix in Exile” (1994), “History of the Main Complaint” (1996), “WEIGHING… and WANTING” (1998), “Stereoscope” (1999), “Tide Table” (2003), and “Other Faces” (2011).
Concept: Hans-Peter Wipplinger
(Text source: Kunsthalle Krems)