This fall, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
presents MCA DNA: William Kentridge, the latest installment of the ongoing exhibition series featuring iconic works from the MCA Collection. A remarkably versatile artist whose work combines the political with the poetic, Kentridge (b. 1955, South Africa) had his first survey exhibition in the United States in 2001 at the MCA Chicago. Having witnessed first-hand one of the twentieth centurys most contentious struggles -- the dissolution of apartheid -- Kentridge addresses the ambiguity and subtlety of memory, truth, and reconciliation through his powerful stop-motion films and charcoal and pastel sketches. MCA DNA: William Kentridge opened on September 19, 2012, runs through March 17, 2013, and is organized by MCA Curator Lynne Warren.
The exhibition features more than a dozen of Kentridges drawings and two of his best-known films: Felix in Exile (1994) and History of the Main Complaint (1996). Using his now-signature technique, Kentridge erased and reworked the drawings shown in the exhibition, recording scenes as they evolved to produce the memorable depictions of his alter egos and their struggles in post-apartheid Johannesburg: Felix Teitlebaum, the romantic artist who is always shown nude, and the tortured story of Soho Eckstein, a wealthy industrialist and pinstriped allegory of gluttony, greed, and guilt.
Also on view -- for the first time in its entirety -- is the torn paper collage Portage (2000). Created specifically for the MCAs 2001 survey of Kentridges work, this collage depicts the march of variously weary, stalwart, and exuberant characters in silhouette and offers a poignant commentary on the human condition, rooted in the sobering events of South Africas recent history.