South African artist William Kentridge’s work in animation and live action film is a central element of his interdisciplinary approach. Featured here are many of his short works, including the film cycle Drawings for Projection (1989–2020) and several filmed versions of his staged operas, notably Dmitri Shostakovich’s The Nose and Alban Berg’s Lulu.Read full description
William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible
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Ubu Tells the Truth
The Magic Flute
In 2005 William Kentridge directed a production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which made use of projected drawings and animations. “The magic of the opera is in how complex and deep questions can be played out with such a light hand, and in the music, which simply floats to our ears, but which has such a gravitas to it at the same time” (Kentridge).View Details
Lulu, one of the great operas of the twentieth century, written by Alban Berg in the late 1920s and early 1930s, deals with themes of fragility, impossibility, and the fragmentation of desire. William Kentridge’s stage design employs hand-drawn animated projections done in a German Expressionist style. Starring Marlis Petersen in the title role.
This eclectic set of short films relates in part to William Kentridge’s work for theater, opera, and gallery installation, while displaying the importance of variations in his artistic practice and themes related to South African and world history, language, science, and the arts.
“Using the Met stage as it is rarely used, [William] Kentridge establishes from the outset a vigorously multidimensional environment, defined in equal measure by verticals and horizontals, by flat graphic surfaces and the deep space of the rear stage. . . . If Kentridge’s Nose was so immensely satisfying it was at least in part because of its deep connection to the inexorable, irrational logic of Gogol’s tale” (Geoffrey O’Brien, New York Review of Books).
Drawings for Projection is a central project of William Kentridge’s career. The series of eleven animated films, which the artist has been working on for more than thirty years, follows two characters, Soho Eckstein and Felix Teitelbaum, and deals with themes of self-portraiture, memory, loss, cultural displacement, and political oppression.
The 2010 documentary William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible offers an excellent orientation to the artist’s work. Paired with six short films by William Kentridge, including his early films, collaborations, and Journey to the Moon, a tribute to the seminal French filmmaker Georges Méliès.