• William Kentridge, courtesy of photographer Marc Shoul

To What End: A Visual Lecture by William Kentridge

Copresented with Cal Performances and the Townsend Center for the Humanities

Art is a unique form of knowledge that cannot be fully explained in traditional academic terms. Drawing has the potential to help us understand the most complex issues.

William Kentridge

Over the course of the 2022–23 academic year, Cal Performances, BAMPFA, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley will participate in a campus-wide residency with world-renowned, multidisciplinary South African artist William Kentridge.

Born in 1955 in Johannesburg, where he still resides, Kentridge is one of the most most respected artists of our time. Much of his work addresses his homeland’s legacies of colonialism and Apartheid while celebrating the nation’s vibrant culture. He is known for combining drawing, writing, film, performance, music, theater, and collaborative practices to create works of art grounded in politics, science, literature, and history, all the while maintaining a space for contradiction and uncertainty. He has created original productions for such leading opera companies as the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, and Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie. His multidisciplinary theatrical productions incorporate many of the elements of his artistic practice to create an immersive environment and provide layers of meaning.

Kentridge’s residency will provide the UC Berkeley campus and wider Bay Area community the rare opportunity to engage directly with the artist via lectures, performances, film screenings, and events showcasing the breadth and depth of his creative output. Kentridge will make two visits to the Berkeley campus, one in November 2022 and one in March 2023, timed with the US premiere of SIBYL at Cal Performances.

The residency kicks off with “To What End,” a visually illustrated lecture by Kentridge, in which he will consider provocations and processes in the making of the chamber opera Waiting for the Sibyl (2019), a work that will be presented by Cal Performances on March 17–19, 2023. Kentridge will discuss his multifaceted artistic practice and the role and meaning of art.