William Kentridge


William Kentridge (South Africa)

bio: William Kentridge is a South African draftsman, performer, stage designer, theatre and opera director, sculptor, mural and tapestry artist,  and filmmaker. Born on April 28, 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kentridge gained international acclaim for his short animated film, followed by an amazing career in the field of visual arts, film, theatre and opera. In his cult films Kentridge conflates his autobiography with that of fictionalized characters to relate his narratives, rendering his signature expressive, gestural drawings in black charcoal and ink. He retouches single drawings again and again to create the film stills, with each new image a palimpsest bearing signs of the previous drawing’s erasure. “My work is about the provisionality of the moment,” the artist has said of his practice. Kentridge’s works are held in the collections The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Goetz Collection in Munich, among others.

film screenings: documentary How We Make Sense of the World (Louisiana Museum, Denmark), 30’
animations: Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris, 8’02’’
Felix in Exile, 8’43’’
Tide Table, 8’50’’

How We Make Sense of the World spells out William Kentridge’s underpinning philosophy and approach to his work. He states that… there is a desperation in all certainty. The category of political uncertainty, philosophical uncertainty, uncertainty of images is much closer to how the world is. Talking with candor and modesty Kentridge speaks of the self-aggrandisement of certainty. How work may be beautiful to you the maker but fails to resonate with anybody else. A failure to realize that the work doesn’t work because too much credence is give to the voices coming in. Kentridge also talks of how the world is erroneously presented in an objective fashion and how so much depends on what comes to the reading of a work from ones history, memory and prejudices. He also suggests that autobiographical elements are essential in the making of profound work.All this may well be common accepted knowledge and yet I frequently see mediocre work that is overblown and hyped by the artist way beyond its worth.