NH Tit-Bits
02 July 2012
A tad of next festival’s William Kentridge retrospective to start

They call him "the last living genius," JM Coetzee adds: "deep empathy, unparalleled inventiveness." We will have an opportunity to see the William Kentridge Retrospective in just one year, during the 13th festival edition. Felix in Exile, a nine minute animated film, is the retrospective’s announcement.

William Kentridge (b. 1955, Johannesburg) is a South African graphic artist, illustrator, performer, author of animated films and installations. He studied political science and African studies and also holds a diploma in art. In the early 1980s, wanting to be an actor, he studied mime and theater at L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. He changed his plans though, and in 1975-1991 played and directed at the Junction Avenue Theatre Company in Johannesburg. In the 1980s, he worked for television. He is the third generation of a South African family of Lithuanian-Jewish descent. His parents were lawyers who defended high-profile apartheid victims. The artist has always worked with current and often uncomfortable topics such as violence, the injustice of white privilege and suffering of the black population of South Africa.

Between 1989 and 2003, Kentridge made nine short films under the title 9 Drawings for Projection: Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris (1989), Monument (1990), Mine (1991), Sobriety, Obesity & Growing Old (1991), Felix in Exile (1994), History of the Main Complaint (1996), Weighing and Wanting (1998), and Stereoscope (1999), and Tide Table (2003). He developed his own method of animation, reminiscent of a palimpsest – he photographs motion sequences of his sketches, plotting the movement of individual fragments on the same sheet.

In 1994, right before the first, democratic elections in South Africa he made Felix In Exile. Kentridge claims this film asks what memories will remain of the people who traveled the arduous road of fighting for a new social system.

Felix in Exile in the 12th TNH IFF program

"Exhibitions in major art galleries, at the Venice Biennale, Documenta Kassel, the most important film events in the world - including retrospectives at festivals in Edinburgh and Cannes. (...) He calls his animated films "drawings for projection" and shows them not on the big screen, but in the gallery space as an installation. He draws with a flourish on large-format with charcoal on thick paper. Blacks here seem to be solid and deep, but can be erased with a single snap of the rag. "I am seduced by the ease with which an image can disappear – removed with an eraser, cloth or even a breath," writes Kentridge.

Adriana Prodeus: Kentridge in Poland ("Dwutygodnik")

12th edition archive website (year 2012).
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