William Kentridge is known for evocative prints, charcoal drawings, animated films, and theater work that reflect the complexity of a South African society brutalized by decades of apartheid. He was born in Johannesburg in 1955 to prominent lawyers known for defending victims of apartheid. After taking a degree in Politics and African Studies he turned to the visual arts. He was also active in the theatre, studied mime, and worked as a television art director early in his career. Kentridge has exhibited internationally to great acclaim and his work has been featured in such important international festivals as the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and Carnegie International. It has been exhibited and collected by major museums around the globe including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
He directed and designed sets and costumes for a celebrated production of The Magic Flute presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last year. The production has traveled to Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa.
Kentridge constructed and photographed three-dimensional tableaux in his studio. The photographs were turned into photogravures and split and paired by Randy Hemminghaus, the Brodsky Center’s master printer. When viewed through a stereopticon, these images reconstitute their dimensionality and pop like stage sets.
These photogravures are a continuation of the artist’s interest in the medium of sight and 16th Century visual experimentation. Kentridge is like a visual magician. He explores and deconstructs the mechanics of seeing to create a kind of wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities that feature his own personal iconography. These works are also an homage to Albrecht Dürer and make references in particular to the famous prints, Melancholia and Rhinoceros.