Art Through Reconciliation/Reconciliation Through Art – William Kentridge at MOMA

April 7, 2010

“I believe that in the indeterminacy of drawing – the contingent way that images arrive in the work – lies some kind of model of how we live out lives. The activity of drawing is a way of trying to understand who we are and how we operate in the world.”

– William Kentridge

An exhibit of William Kentridge’s work is currently on display at MOMA in New York until May 17, 2010. I went to see it the other day with my friend Lauren and am now completely enamored with his work. Before visiting the exhibit, I knew a bit about the artist, mostly through his work on an amazing play called Ubu and the Truth Commission, but didn’t have a sense of his range and diversity. For the most part, Kentridge, a South African artist, deals with the realities of living in an apartheid and post-apartheid state. He engages issues of oppression, resistance, hatred, love and desire through several mediums including drawing, film, printmaking, collage, and theatrical performance. Go see it!

The image above: William Kentridge. Drawing from Stereoscope 1998-99. Charcoal, pastel, and colored pencil on paper. For more on Kentridge at MOMA click here or for a review, click here.

4 Responses to “Art Through Reconciliation/Reconciliation Through Art – William Kentridge at MOMA”

  1. m. teichman Says:

    What a cool artist William Kentridge is! I enjoy the sport that contemporary art is; especially trying to decipher the creative rationales that artists who are confidant in their originality develop to explain their work… one of my favourite “things”.
    One thing struck me though. The reviewer, Roberta Smith, in her critique, says “despite his ongoing exploration of non-traditional media, the foundation of his art has always been drawing and printmaking” This notion seems to be supported by Kentridge’s own quotation which focuses on the drawing medium “The activity of drawing is a way of trying to understand who we are and how we operate in the world”….yet Smith describes him as “a skilled draftsman who almost entirely lacks an original touch: his images tend to be inert if they’re not in motion”. Elsewhere, Kentridge claims “he did not, for the performance piece Ubu and the Truth Commission, pursue the multimedia realm because of any aesthetic ideal, but rather because he was skilled in the art of animation anyway and was curious to see how it would combine with puppet theatre”. I think there’s something paradoxical about how the artist, and at least one critic, see his creative output. Thanks for turning me on to Kentridge.

  2. tracingmemory Says:

    My pleasure. And thanks for your post! It’s interesting the way the concepts of original and unoriginal are taken up in Kentridge’s work. And his work is full of contradictions. It’s one of his strengths. His pieces are beautiful and challenging. If you get a chance to see his work in person, you should!


  3. Jamie Says:

    I should go see this…
    Thanks for giving me the push.

  4. tracingmemory Says:

    Yes! You should go see it. I’m totally a fan of his work.
    Go see it and let me know what you think!

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