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William Kentridge. That Which Is Not Drawn

— William Kentridge

9 October 2020 — 21 February 2021

William Kentridge. That Which Is Not Drawn

The exhibition presents for the first time the complete series of 11 animated films, Drawings for Projection, which the artist began in 1989, marking his international breakthrough in the art world. Kentridge completed City Deep, the eleventh film in the project, during confinement, and it can be seen for the first time in Europe in the CCCB’s show.

The 11 short films in the series are a critical chronicle of South African history from Apartheid to the present. Drawings for Projection are made with a laborious artisanal animation technique. Kentridge creates charcoal and pastel drawings that he modifies by erasing, redrawing and reworking the elements. He films each stage of the process and modifies it continuously, sometimes leaving “ghostly remnants” of the previous marks on the sheet. In this way, he visualizes the passage of time and the stratification of memory, one of the main themes of his work.

More Sweetly Play the Dance, an audiovisual moving frieze

Another of the most representative works of William Kentridge’s art and creative process on show in the exhibition is More Sweetly Play the Dance, a spectacular almost 40-metre-long moving frieze on eight screens, evoking the dynamics of a ritual procession, a demonstration of the dispossessed, a flow of refugees escaping a crisis or a medieval danse macabre.

The piece is one of the most striking manifestations of the more collective, choreographic side of Kentridge’s oeuvre, a work that blurs the boundaries between artistic installation and performing arts, where the different languages deployed by the artist are organically and hypnotically combined. It will be in Room 2 at the CCCB until 17 January. Thereafter, it will be shown in the PLANTA space of the Fundació Sorigué, near Balaguer.

The creative world of Kentridge in drawings and large-format tapestries

The exhibition “William Kentridge. That Which Is Not Drawn” also includes seven drawings on paper that record the laborious creative process of the films in Drawings for Projection and a selection of nine large-format tapestries, which the artist produces in collaboration with the Stephens Tapestry Studio in Johannesburg, a local workshop that employs women in the area.

The tapestries feature dark silhouettes, recognisable figures that appear throughout Kentridge’s work. They show images of people carrying loads (refugees, demonstrators, pilgrims), for the author symbolizing the crises, wars and problems that plague South Africa and the rest of the world.

The exhibition presents for the first time the complete series of 11 animated films, Drawings for Projection, which the artist began in 1989, marking his international breakthrough in the art world. Kentridge completed City Deep, the eleventh film in the project, during confinement, and it can be seen for the first time in Europe in the CCCB’s show.

The 11 short films in the series are a critical chronicle of South African history from Apartheid to the present. Drawings for Projection are made with a laborious artisanal animation technique. Kentridge creates charcoal and pastel drawings that he modifies by erasing, redrawing and reworking the elements. He films each stage of the process and modifies it continuously, sometimes leaving “ghostly remnants” of the previous marks on the sheet. In this way, he visualizes the passage of time and the stratification of memory, one of the main themes of his work.

Space for reflection on power and the margins of exclusion

With this exhibition, the CCCB aims not just to explore the work and the artistic career of an important creator, but to reflect on the challenges of postcolonialism and the dialectic between power, margins and exclusion today.

William Kentridge’s creations refer to his hometown, Johannesburg, to the history of South Africa and to Apartheid, but above all they touch on universal issues: the nature of human relations, memory, domination, guilt and dissection of power.

“William Kentridge. That Which Is Not Drawn” is an extended adaptation of the exhibitions “William Kentridge – If We Ever Get to Heaven” (2015) and “William Kentridge: Ten Drawings for Projection” (2019), devised and presented at the Eye Filmmuseum (Amsterdam) and curated by Jaap Guldemond, with the collaboration of Marente Bloemheuvel.

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