Tuesday, 12 July 2011

William Kentridge: Five Themes

Drawing for II Sole 24 Ore (World Walking)
Drawing for II Sole 24 Ore [World Walking]

From 8 March to 27 May 2012, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) presents William Kentridge: Five Themes, an exhibition by one of the world's leading contemporary artists, William Kentridge.

Premiering in Australia after travelling to San Francisco, New York, Paris, Vienna, Jerusalem and Moscow, the exhibition explores five key themes that have captivated Kentridge throughout his career.

Well known for his stop motion films of charcoal drawings, Kentridge's multi-disciplinary approach will be showcased through over 60 works ranging from animations, drawings and prints to theatre models, sculptures and books.

Born in 1955 in South Africa, and continuing to reside in his hometown of Johannesburg, Kentridge is highly regarded for a body of work that reveals strong links to the social and political environment of his home country. Tackling issues of colonial oppression, reconciliation, and the transient nature of individual and shared memory, his work deftly combines the political with the poetic.

"William Kentridge is one of the most significant artists working internationally today and we are thrilled to be presenting his exhibition Five Themes," says ACMI Director Tony Sweeney. "An expansive and illuminating survey of Kentridge's work over the past three decades, Five Themes reveals the full arc of his distinguished career and comes to Melbourne after a successful tour to MOMA in New York and the Albertina Museum in Vienna."

The Five Themes
Occasional and Residual Hope: Ubu and the Procession
Inspired by the Alfred Jarry play, Ubu Roi, with its strong themes of corruption and cowardice, Kentridge developed a series of etchings in 1996 called Ubu Tells the Truth. The following year he completed an animated film of the same name along with some drawings. Exploring themes of truth and reconciliation, these works are also a commentary on the human rights abuses that took place during the time of apartheid.

Thick Time: Soho and Felix
The second section of the exhibition features a recurring fictional character in Kentridge's work, Soho Eckstein, a businessman with an uneasy conscience and his alter-ego, Felix Teitlebaum. An ongoing work of nine animated shorts, 9 Drawings for Projection traces the lives of these characters during the last decade of apartheid in Johannesburg.

Parcours d'Atelier: Artist in the Studio
The third section of the exhibition explores Kentridge at a crossroads in his career, putting the spotlight on his own art practice to expose the work that takes place prior to a film, drawing or sculptural work being created. A tribute to French film director Georges Méliès, Kentridge's large-scale multi-screen projection 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès, Journey to the Moon and Day for Night (2003) consists of nine films revealing Kentridge's own creative process.

Sarastro and the Master's Voice: The Magic Flute
In 2005, Kentridge directed a production of Mozart's The Magic Flute for Belgium's renowned opera house, La Monnaie. In the lead up to the production, Kentridge created several films, drawings and theatre models, and in the wake of the opera, he made the mechanical theatre installation Black Box / Chambre Noire (2005). This body of work sees Kentridge explore the contrasting states of darkness and light.

Learning from the Absurd: The Nose
The final section of the exhibition consists of a multichannel projection made in the lead up to Kentridge's 2010 production of The Nose, for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The companion piece, I am not me, the horse is not mine (2008), is an installation of eight projected film fragments that examine Russian modernism and the repression experienced by the Russian avant-garde during the 1920s and 1930s.

William Kentridge: Five Themes is organised by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Norton Museum of Art. Generous support for the exhibition is provided by the Koret Foundation. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

William Kentridge: Five Themes is exhibited exclusively in Australia in Gallery 1 at ACMI from Thursday 8 March until Sunday 27 May, 2012. Further information about the exhibition will be revealed in early 2012. www.acmi.net.au

Image: William Kentridge, Drawing for II Sole 24 Ore [World Walking], 2007; Charcoal, gouache, pastel, and colored pencil on paper; 84 x 59 in. (213.5 x 150 cm); Collection of the artist, courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, and Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; © 2010 William Kentridge; photo: courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Further information

Frances Mariani
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2475 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 655
[email] frances.mariani@acmi.net.au  
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