MoMA devotes a one-man show to the South-African artist William Kentridge. It is a very exciting show between his graphic works and his well-known animated short-films.
I like both very much. His drawings on sheets of old books and collages are excellent graphic works. In this show there are about 130 pieces of them. However, the most impressive images for me were the moving pictures of his video-installations.
In the large scale video installation ‘7 Fragments for Georges Méliès’ for instants, it is impressive how he combines classic charcoal hand drawing and acting within an animated film about the creative process of an artist.
William Kentridge gained his fame in the art world of the 1990s:
- 1996 Johannesburg and Istanbul Biennial participation
- 1997 Documenta 10
- 1998 Hugo Boss prize nomination at the Guggenheim
- 2002 Documenta 11
He is a trained visual artist, but has also a background of acting and film making: At the beginning of the 1980s, he was in a creative crisis and gave up drawing because he did not have an idea how to match with his idols Bacon and Giacometti.
He went from South Africa to Paris to study acting, but was not satisfied by his acting either. In the second half of the 1980s, he started to draw with charcoal and combined his drawing with animated film making.
Mr. Kentridge always has been a very political artist: Since 1989 many of his short-films were directed against the South African system of apartheid. He shows us the development before and after apartheid through the eyes of his two main characters Felix Teitelbaum, the sensitive dreamer, and Soho Eckstein, the reckless industrialist.
In 1994, the apartheid ended officially and the cultural sanctions on South Africa ended as well. International curators came in the country and discovered William Kentridge’s art.
Mr. Kentridge’s acting school, however, was not useless: In 2005, he produced in Bruxelles, Belgium, the ‘Magic Flute’ opera by W. A. Mozart. At the MoMA show, there is a one of his typical automated puppet-theatre installations with music and film from this production. I liked it a lot - it is very poetic.
A section of the show is dedicated to his current Met production of the opera ‘The Nose’ by Shostakovich. It is after an absurdist short story by Gogol. If you have the chance to see this opera, I do strongly recommend to do so.
For me, this was the best show during the Armory week 2010!
William Kentridge: ‘Five Themes’ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
Trough 17 May 2010
Marianne Goodman Gallery devoted their entire booth at the AADA show at Armory hall to William Kentridge. The large drawings were priced $ 250,000 each.