William Kentridge is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent artists, internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, theatre and opera productions. His work draws on varied sources, including philosophy, literature, early cinema, theatre and opera to create a complex universe where good and evil are complementary and inseparable forces.
Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including documenta in Kassel, Germany (1997, 2003, 2012), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1998, 2010), the Albertina Museum in Vienna (2010), Jeu de Paume in Paris (2010), and the Musée du Louvre in Paris (2010), where he presented “Carnets d’Egypte”, a project conceived especially for the Egyptian Room. Kentridge’s production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” was presented at Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and in 2011 at La Scala in Milan, and his production of Shostakovich’s “The Nose” was seen at The New York Metropolitan Opera in 2010 and again in 2013, traveling to Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and to Lyon in 2011. The 5-channel video and sound installation “The Refusal of Time” was made for documenta (13) in Kassel, Germany, in 2012; since then it has been seen at MAXXI in Rome, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and other cities including Boston, Perth, Kyoto, Helsinki and Wellington. A substantial survey exhibition of Kentridge’s work opened in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, going on in following years to Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Bogotá, Medellín, and Mexico City. In 2014 Kentridge’s production of Schubert’s “Winterreise” opened at the Wiener Festwochen, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and Holland Festival. It has since been performed at the Lincoln Center in New York, in St Petersburg, Moscow and other cities in Europe. “Paper Music”, a concert of projections with live music by Philip Miller, premiered in Florence and was presented at Carnegie Hall in New York in October 2014. Kentridge’s production of Alban Berg’s opera “LULU” opened in summer 2015 in Amsterdam, in November was seen at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and travels to the English National Opera in London in November 2016.
“More Sweetly Play the Dance” is an 8-channel video projection. It was shown first in an installation at the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam in April 2015, and has since been seen in Germany, London, New York and Milan. “Notes Toward a Model Opera”, a three-screen projection looking at the Chinese Cultural Revolution, is the key work in a new survey exhibition which opened in Beijing in June 2015 (going on to the MMCA in Seoul and other cities in the Far East), and has also been shown in solo exhibitions at Marian Goodman Gallery in London and New York and at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. For the 2015 Istanbul biennale, Kentridge has made a site-specific installation of sound and video titled “O Sentimental Machine”. Kentridge’s ambitious public art project for Rome, “Triumphs & Laments” (an approximately 500 m frieze of figures power-washed from pollution and bacterial growth on the walls of the Tiber River) – triumphs and laments in the history of Rome, opened in late April 2016.
In 2010, Kentridge received the prestigious Kyoto Prize in recognition of his contributions in the field of arts and philosophy. In 2011, he was elected as an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and received the degree of Doctor of Literature honoris causa from the University of London. In 2012, Kentridge presented the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University and was elected member of the American Philosophical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Also in that year, he was awarded the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University, and was named as Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. In 2013, William Kentridge was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by Yale University. In 2014 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Cape Town, and in 2015 was appointed as an Honorary Academician of the Royal Academy in London.
As of May 2016