An exhibition surveying the body of work of a South African artist who uses film, drawing, music, theater and sculpture to explore the social tension and knotted political history of of his country and the world at large opens at The Modern on Sunday.
"William Kentridge: Five Themes" spans almost 30 years of William Kentridge's experiments, including more than 75 socio-cultural statements using animated films, theater models and books as vessels along with drawings and prints. According to information we got from The Modern, Kentridge, the Johannesburg-born son of two anti-apartheid lawyers, shows many of the projects he's created since 2000 to a U.S. audience for the first time in this collection.
The structure of the exhibit, which The Modern's Chief Curator Michael Auping described in a press release to be like a "five-stage, animated opera," is as captivating as what we've seen of the presentation's content. The work is organized according to Kentridge's main five muses: his own artistic processes, the implications of apartheid on the landscape of Johannesburg in the last ten years of the period, the 1995 Truth and Reconciliation hearings that looked into human rights abuses during apartheid, the themes of Mozart's "The Magic Flute," and the Russian avant-garde movement's struggles in the 1920s and 30s.
"Five Themes" marks the first time Kentridge has produced a DVD for sale with his catalogue in conjunction with an exhibit. Clips from film projects Kentridge calls "drawings for projection" and in-studio footage of the artist are on the release.