William Kentridge

William Kentridge (1955) is a South African artist known for his prints, drawings, and animated films. His process involves stop frame animation, where he films his drawing, making erasures and changes, and filming it again and again. The drawing is altered and filmed this way until the end of a scene to bring the image o life, giving it movement. His works manifest themselves in many forms; drawings, prints, sketches, films, sculptures and more uniquely to him theatre.

Quotations from William Kentridge by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (1998), Societé des Expositions du Palais de Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles.

“I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain ending – an art (and a politics) in which optimism is kept in check, and nihilism at bay.”

“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.”

“The drawings don’t start with ‘a beautiful mark’. It has to be a mark of something out there in the world. It doesn’t have to be an accurate drawing, but it has to stand for an observation, not something that is abstract, like an emotion.”

Image credit: Georgios Kefalas