Monday, February 13, 2006

William Kentridge And Renaissance Art

"South African artist William Kentridge will receive the Rosenberger Medal for outstanding achievement in the creative and performing arts, one of the highest honors the University of Chicago can bestow, on Tuesday, Jan. 31, [2006]. ...

The Rosenberger Medal was established by the University in 1917 to “recognize achievement through research, in authorship, in invention, for discovery, for unusual public service or for anything deemed to be of great benefit to humanity.” Over the years, the University has awarded the medal to author Toni Morrison, conductors Sir Georg Solti and Pierre Boulez, and Frederick Grant Banting, who discovered insulin.

Kentridge, perhaps the best known South African artist, has throughout his career moved between film, drawing and theater, with recent projects frequently integrating elements from all these media. Working primarily with charcoal to create drawings of extraordinary depth, Kentridge is known for taking a multimedia approach to his work. He films and re-films his drawings, erasing the images and drawing more all the time, and then uses those reels to create complex, often political cartoons. A Johannesburg native, much of Kentridge’s work is a meditation on his life and surroundings in the most populous city in South Africa, both during apartheid and in the years since its collapse.

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

While at the University of Chicago, Kentridge will deliver a public talk entitled “Journey to the Moon” about his project “Seven Fragments for George Méliès.” The free talk is part of the Marjorie Kovler Visiting Fellows program, an initiative designed to encourage interaction between students at the University and prominent individuals in the arts and public affairs. Past fellows include Robert Redford, Betty Friedan, Kurt Vonnegut and Scott Turow."

Source: University of Chicago News Office January 26, 2006.


Mr Kentridge's 2004 animated film based upon charcoal drawings, part of the "Between Art and Life" exhibition on the troubled fifth floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, is, in my opinion, the exhibition's strongest work.

Still from William Kentridge's 2004 animation at the "Between Art and Life" exhibition, currently on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Image credit: (c) William Kentridge via
With thanks.


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