For Documenta 13 in 2012, a contemporary art showcase presented every five years in Kassel, Germany, William Kentridge will present The Refusal of Time. The project grows out of a series of ongoing conversations with the Harvard-based science historian, Peter Galison, and wrestles with our changing ideas about time, the history of the standardisation of time and resistance to a linear construction of time and space. It questions our constructed experience of time, and invites alternative interpretations of time.
Dancing with Dada was created as part of work towards this larger project – in this way the piece is both complete in itself, and a space for experimentation and testing of ideas. The dance concert premiered at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 2011 as part of the Refuse the Hour programme. It integrated dance, live music, strange machines and projection. Philip Miller created original music and sound for the piece, and award-winning dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo both choreographed and performed within it.
Sabine Theunissen, Greta Goiris, Catherine Meyburgh and Luc de Wit, who worked with Kentrige on both The Magic Flute and The Nose, also contributed to this production. Goiris created costumes – a rapid assembly of parts, for this piece, rather than detailed control of every detail. Theunissen worked with Kentridge on design of the stage, backdrops and machines. De Wit explored the possibilities for movement on stage; and Meyburgh, together with Snezana Marovic, edited the video.
Joanna Dudley sung Miller’s rendering of Berlioz’s song La Spectre de la Rose (from the song cycle Les Nuits d’Ete), and with Ann Masina and Bham Ntabeni used voice as an element of Miller’s soundscape for the piece.
William Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including Documenta in Kassel, Germany (1997, 2003, 2012), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1998, 2010), the Albertina Museum in Vienna (2010), Jeu de Paume in Paris (2010), and the Musée du Louvre in Paris (2010), where he presented Carnets d’Egypte, a project conceived especially for the Egyptian Room. Kentridge’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute was presented at Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Festival d’Aix, and in 2011 at La Scala in Milan, and his production of Shostakovich’s The Nose was seen at The New York Metropolitan Opera in 2010 and again in 2013, travelling to Festival d’Aix and to Lyon in 2011. The five-channel video and sound installation The Refusal of Time was made for Documenta (13) in Kassel, Germany, in 2012; since then it has been seen at MAXXI in Rome, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and other cities including Boston, Perth, Kyoto, Helsinki and Wellington. A substantial survey exhibition of Kentridge’s work opened in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, going on in following years to Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Bogota, Medellin, and Mexico City. In the summer of 2014 Kentridge’s production of Schubert’s Winterreise opened at the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Aix, and Holland Festival. In the fall it opened at the Lincoln Center in New York. Paper Music, a concert of projections with live music by Philip Miller, opened in Florence in September 2014, and was presented at Carnegie Hall in New York in late October 2014. Both the installation The Refusal of Time and its companion performance piece Refuse the Hour were presented in Cape Town in February 2015. More recently, Kentridge’s production of the Alban Berg opera Wozzeck premiered at the Salzburg Festival in 2017, and last year his acclaimed performance project The Head & The Load opened at Tate Modern in London, and travelled to Park Avenue Armory in December 2018. In June 2019, A Poem That I Used To Know opened at Kunstmuseum, Basel in Switzerland. This comprehensive survey show includes early drawings, major film installations, sculpture and two new pieces, an installation and a film, produced by Kentridge in response to works in the museum’s permanent collection.
In 2010, Kentridge received the prestigious Kyoto Prize in recognition of his contributions in the field of arts and philosophy. In 2011, he was elected as an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and received the degree of Doctor of Literature honoris causa from the University of London. In 2012, Kentridge presented the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University and was elected member of the American Philosophical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Also in that year, he was awarded the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University, and was named as Commandeur des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. In 2013, William Kentridge was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by Yale University and in 2014 received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cape Town.
Upcoming News and Projects
Why Should I Hesitate, a major survey show, divided across the Norval Foundation and Zetiz MOCAA, is to open in late August 2019 and run until March 2020. Kentridge’s new opera project, Waiting for the Sibyl, will premiere at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in September 2019. Waiting for the Sibyl was created in response to Alexander Calder’s Work in Progress, the only operatic work created by Calder and staged at the Opera in Rome in 1968. These two works will be performed consecutively at the Teatro Costanzi as the joint presentation, Calder/Kentridge. Performances will take place from 10 – 15 September, 2019.