The South African artist William Kentridge, born in Johannesburg in 1955, is chiefly known for his drawings, dominated by pastel and charcoal and usually conceived as the basis for animated films. But Kentridge also works in engraving, collage and sculpture, creates performance pieces, and often designs and directs opera and theater productions. Combining the political with the poetic, Kentridges earliest works denounced apartheid and the ravages of colonialism.
Scheduled to coincide with the monographic retrospective devoted to the artist at the Jeu de Paume, drawings by William Kentridge will be presented in the Salle dActualité of the Department of Graphic Arts, alongside a selection of drawings from the Louvre
s collections. Drawings were made for a series of films - conceived especially for the museum - on view in room 26 of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities. Original music for the films was composed by Philip Miller.
Ancient Egypt is a theme that first appeared in Kentridges work in 2004, in preparation for his staging of Mozarts comic opera, The Magic Flute. His fanciful conception is illuminated by projections of the artists own animated black-and-white films. Kentridges focus moves successively from exotic landscapes on the banks of the Nile to temple ruins and obelisks. The figure of the falcon deity Horus stands in for the artist, appearing and then disappearing, under the magical sway of the draftsmans art. This production had its first premiere in Brussels in 2005. The invitation extended by the Louvre provides an opportunity for the artist to re-explore the world of ancient Egypt, but also to delve into the Napoleonic campaigns of the late eighteenth century.
For the first time in France, the Jeu de Paume presents a retrospective devoted to William Kentridge, organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Norton Museum of Art.
William Kentridge: Five Themes explores the five primary themes that have occupied the artists life and work, through a large selection of works from the late 1980s to the present. Focusing in particular on Kentridges more recent productions, the exhibition reveals the very broad scope of his work.