June 22, 2014

Art Basel HK 2014 Focus: William Kentridge

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William Kentridge @Art Basel Hong Kong 2014.  © Yi Wei Lim

William Kentridge (1955 - present) is a South African artist best known for his animated films, drawings, and prints. His animated films are created by repeatedly drawing with charcoal and erasing, and filming his artwork at each stage of composition - sort of like stop motion, if you will. His drawing and prints are highly dynamic, strongly-lined, and are usually done using Indian ink on torn-out pages from books.

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The Coincidence Demands Its Hearing.The pages were taken from Shorter's English Dictionary.  © Yi Wei Lim


Having grown up and lived during the South African apartheid period, Kentridge's work reflects the concerns of post-apartheid society. His parents were lawyers known for their work defending apartheid victims. However, Kentridge's work, when depicting his country, doesn't focus purely on the oppressive environment it was for the black people nor on the better state of living for the whites - he chooses to expose the duality of man instead, highlighting ambiguity, contradiction and a sense of things left unfinished. As such, his work feel mildly subversive and quietly unsettling - hinting at what is not said, what is supposedly suppressed or forgotten but can easily be felt or brought to the surface again. 

Watch Kentridge's short film series, titled Felix in Exile, which aims to portray the emotional and political struggles faced by South Africans in the pre-democracy period:



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 © Yi Wei Lim


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William Kentridge - Zeotrope, at Art Basel Hong Kong 2013.  Notice the basic yet lively strokes at the lower rows.
© Yi Wei Lim
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Colour Chart.  © Yi Wei Lim

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