18 December 2005

William Kentridge

I first came across William Kentridge when I was working for these folks as an intern. That, incidentally, was one of the best jobs I have ever had.

Anyway, I was researching the arts situation in South Africa in that capacity, and you don’t have to nose around in that region too long to find Kentridge. He’s a white South African who studied politics and shortly thereafter started doing art-type stuff. Obviously, I guess, much of his work centers on Apartheid and related issues.

I am really interested in his movies, which involve a production process that destroys the illusion regular movies present. They are animations. He draws each frame, and instead of creating a separate picture for the next frame he shoots it, and then erases and redraws on the same paper.

Anyone who has spent much time with an eraser knows how well that works. Little remnants of the previous image remain. It is a cool process that directly addresses impermanence, distortion, and the resurgence of the past. This is mixed with political messages and critiques, the implications of which challenge the assertion that contemporary art lacks relevance. I liked it back then so much that when I was accepted to grad school he was one of my proposed thesis subjects.

Now that I’m half way through a different topic I kind of wish I could go back to Kentridge.


katperkins said...

I know you've used it a lot, but you don't seem like someone who would use the word "folks."

Mary Ann said...

My dad, a biochemist raised in Michigan, says Howdy.

I guess I could replace folks with guys (which I think is what you'd hear if I was talking and not writing). But guys, although more neutral than in the past, is still sort of male-centric.

Josh said...

i enjoyed the term "art-type stuff."