William Kentridge has become known for his film animations, drawings, theatre and opera productions. Despite the variety of media, his work is linked by themes that are tenderly balanced between historio-political and more autobiographical concerns: hybrid identities, dispossession and fragmentation.
For this show, Kentridge will exhibit a new body of work. He has created small figurative bronze relief sculptures, arranged as a procession. The size and shape of these sculptures take reference from the maquettes the artist uses for his theatre work and ‘shadow' films.
These sculptures inspire the same intense emotion and sensuality that permeate his film projections and drawings. Kentridge's repeated use of ‘procession' imagery creates a tension between continuity and fragmentation. The notion of a caravan of people evokes social connotations from pagan celebrations to a darker exodus. The theme of ‘procession' is echoed in Kentridge's large panel pieces and drawings on book pages which will be shown in the gallery at the same time.
Kentridge will also exhibit drawings in charcoal, chalk and pastel from his film Ulisse: ECHO and opera production of Il Ritorno d'Ulisse. Here the artist extends notions of travel and passage through time into his obsession with inner journeys and memory. As Kentridge himself says of these drawings: "I was looking at the body as a metaphor for our relationship to memory and the unconscious, acknowledging that there are things happening under the surface which we hope will be well contained by our skin."
Kentridge's unique and outstanding draughtsmanship reflects the importance of process in his work. Each image is worked and re-worked to create the film, so that an entire scene can be based on one drawing that bears witness to the erasures and changes over time.
William Kentridge has exhibited internationally for many years. Recent group and solo exhibitions include the Carnegie Open in Pittsburgh, Project 68 at MOMA in New York, Unfinished Histories at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Documenta X in Kassel, and the Istanbul, Johannesburg, Kwangju, São Paolo and Venice Biennales. In 1998 and 1999 a mid-career retrospective of his work travelled to the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Kunstverein in Munich, MACBA in Barcelona, the Serpentine Gallery in London and the Neue Gallery in Graz. At the end of 2000, the Tate Modern in London will project a new film in their galleries. In 2001, a solo exhibition will travel to the MCA in Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, the New Museum in New York and LACMA in Los Angeles.