William Kentridge’s Other Faces has been drawn and filmed over the past year. It will be shown at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg in conjunction with a group of working drawings used in the film’s animation, as well as drawing fragments and prints. As with other films in the Drawings for Projection series, the artist uses a 35 mm movie camera to film the successive stages of charcoal drawings that are progressively altered through erasure and overdrawing.
Other Faces returns to the figure of Soho Eckstein, the industrialist and developer who is the key protagonist of the Drawings for Projection series. In this cycle of nine films created from 1989 through 2003, Kentridge addresses the doubling and contrary sides of the self, personified in the entrepreneur/capitalist Soho and his foil, the poet/ lover Felix.
In this most recent work, pin-striped Soho Eckstein moves through a series of collisions of circumstances and recollection. In the film, the city of Johannesburg – inconstant, desperate, desiring, impenetrable – appears not so much as context as it does subject, in images of streets, facades, landscapes, and people. Familiar and recent attributes of the city appear, with one image not just suggesting another image but indicating a connection to displaced emotions and displaced histories. There are references to the street corner civil wars of daily life, and to the xenophobic violence of the last few years. Philip Miller, the Johannesburg composer who has worked with William Kentridge over many projects, composed the music for the film. Catherine Meyburgh, video editor for most of the artist’s video work, is the editor.
William Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including Documenta in Kassel, Germany (1997, 2003), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1998, 2010), the Albertina Museum in Vienna (2010), Jeu de Paume in Paris (2010). Kentridge’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute was presented at Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Festival d’Aix, and at La Scala in Milan. He directed Shostakovich’s The Nose for the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2010 (which travelled to Festival d’Aix and Lyon in 2011), to coincide with a major exhibition at MoMA. Also in 2010 the Musee du Louvre in Paris presented Carnets d’Egypte, a project conceived especially for the Egyptian room at the Louvre. In the same year, Kentridge received the prestigious Kyoto Prize in recognition of his contributions in the field of arts and philosophy. In 2011, Kentridge was elected as an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1955. His career has spanned five decades and his work has been shown in major museums, galleries, fairs and biennials 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 in many 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, which travelled to LaM in Lille in early 2020. Why Should I Hesitate, a major survey show, divided across the Norval Foundation and Zetiz MOCAA, both in Cape Town, opened in late August 2019 and will run until July 2020. In addition, Kentridge’s new opera project, Waiting for the Sibyl, premiered at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in September 2019 and will be seen in several European cities in 2020.
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. In 2017, Kentridge received the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts in Spain and 2019, he was honoured with the Praemium Imperiale Laureate: Painting by the Japan Art Association in Tokyo.