produced by Kentridge’s unique process of animation. For each film
sequence, the artist begins with a single charcoal drawing, which he
modifies either by additions or erasures. Each alteration to the drawing
is photographed to become one frame of his animated film. The film is
therefore the result of thousands of changes to a few drawings. Kentridge’s
narratives are grounded in the recent politics of his native South Africa
but are also personal works. The work’s protagonist, Soho Eckstein, a
pinstripe-suited businessman, is based on the artist’s grandfather but
resembles the artist physically. The labor-intensive filmmaking process,
visible to the viewer in the finished work, becomes a metaphoric parallel
to the deliberate acts of effacement and remembrance that characterize
South Africa’s post- apartheid state. In this newest film, Kentridge
references the stereoscope, a photographic device that produces the
illusion of a three-dimensional image by combining two pictures of a
single subject taken from different points of view.
William Kentridge, drawing for Stereoscope, 1999, charcoal and pastel on paper, 31 ½ x 47 ¼ in. (80 x 120 cm)
William Kentridge, drawing for Stereoscope, 1999, charcoal and pastel on paper, 63 x 47 ¼ in. (160 x 120 cm)
William Kentridge responds to questions in the Artists of the Week section of this site.
William Kentridge’s work was first exhibited in and around Johannesburg in the late 1970s. In 1989 he began to participate in international group shows, including Memory and Geography. Africus Johannesburg Biennale (1995); Jurassic Technologies Revenant, the 10th Biennale of Sydney (1996); documenta X, Kassel, Sexta Bienal de La Habana, Truce: Echoes of Art in an Age of Endless Conclusions, SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Delta, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1997); and 48th Venice Biennale (1999). Solo shows of Kentridge’s work have appeared at The Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg (1992, 1994, 1997); The Drawing Center, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, Brussels, and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1998); and Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris (1999). Kentridge has also directed and designed many theater productions, including the highly acclaimed Ubu and the Truth Commission (1997).
1976-78 Johannesburg Art Foundation
1981-82 École Jacques Lecoq, Paris
Enwezor, Okwui. “Truth and Responsibility: A Conversation with William Kentridge.” Parkett 54 (1998/1999): 165-70.
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, Belgium. William Kentridge (1998). Exhibition catalogue, text by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev.
Taylor, Jane. Ubu and the Truth Commission. Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town, 1998. From the production of Ubu and the Truth Commission by William Kentridge and the Handspring Puppet Company.
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa. William Kentridge: Drawings for Projection: Four Animated Films (1992). Exhibition catalogue, text by Michael Godby.