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William Kentridge: Five Themes


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8 Mar – 27 May 2012

The defining career retrospective of the world-renowned artist and filmmaker.

After premiering at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and travelling to New York, Paris, Vienna, Jerusalem and Moscow, this stunning exhibition comes to ACMI for an exclusive Australian season.

Born in 1955 in South Africa, William Kentridge rose to prominence as an artist and animator, winning international acclaim for his stop motion films of charcoal drawings. Melancholic and magical, his work is strongly tied to the social and political environment of his home country in the pre- and post-Apartheid era.

Tackling issues of colonial oppression, reconciliation, and the transient nature of individual and shared memory, Kentridge deftly combines the political with the poetic in work that moves across various artforms, from visual art to theatre to the world of the moving image.

I have never been able to escape Johannesburg, and in the end, all my work is rooted in this rather desperate provincial city. I have never tried to make illustrations of apartheid, but the drawings and the films are certainly spawned by, and feed off, the brutalised society left in its wake.

William Kentridge

Inspired by European literature, classical music and opera, plays and early cinema, Kentridge uses archetypal characters to build whimsical, poignant and playful narratives in which good and evil are both complementary and inseparable forces.

William Kentridge: Five Themes  features over 60 works ranging from animations, drawings and prints to theatre models, sculptures and books. An unmissable survey of a phenomenal artistic talent, it explores five key themes of Kentridge's career, including his direction of The Magic Flute for the renowned Belgian opera house, La Monnaie, and the animated films he developed for a 2010 production of The Nose at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Download the audio/video tour on iTunes.

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