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Largest William Kentridge exhibition comes to Cape Town in August

The Norval Foundation and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) will each host an extensive exhibition of the work of internationally acclaimed artist William Kentridge. It is set to be the artist's largest exhibition to be held in Africa in over a decade.

Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture will be on view at Norval Foundation’s Atrium and Galleries 2-8 in Tokai from 24 August 2019 to 23 March 2020 and Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work will be on display at Zeitz MOCAA at the V&A Waterfront’s Silo District from 25 August 2019 to 23 March 2020.

William Kentridge - Sentimental Machine 2015
William Kentridge - Sentimental Machine 2015

Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture

Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture will present the three-dimensional work of William Kentridge from the past 19 years. This will be the first exhibition internationally to address Kentridge’s output as a sculptor. Covering several bodies of work and testifying to his longstanding and spontaneous improvisation when handling three-dimensional form, Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture sees the origins of these works in props from his operas and images from his animations stepping off the stage and out of the screen, confronting us directly at ground level. Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture will also premiere new works commissioned for the occasion of this special exhibition.

William Kentridge - Triumphs & Laments 2013
William Kentridge - Triumphs & Laments 2013

“Norval Foundation is presenting, for the first time, an exhibition focused solely on William Kentridge’s sculptural practice, working in conjunction with the artist and his studio. Kentridge’s sculptures embrace a spontaneous approach and have recently evolved towards the massive and the monumental. Simultaneously, and in tension to the monumental aspects of his practice, he is revealed to be a choreographer as much as a sculptor,” says Karel Nel, senior advising curator at Norval Foundation.

Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work

Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work will be staged at Zeitz MOCAA and will offer a wide survey of Kentridge’s work, including early works as well as newer pieces on view for the first time in South Africa. It will cover over 40 years of artistic production (1976 to 2019) in drawing, stop-frame animation, video, prints, sculpture, tapestry, video and large-scale installation. The title references Kentridge’s primary practice of drawing and how this core activity informs and enables his studio practice. It also references the impact of individual action on history and the reverse – how history shapes the contemporary and the future – and works as a commentary on various shifting hegemonies of power politics, economics, language and the authority to narrate history.

William Kentridge - QUICK
William Kentridge - QUICK

“This large-scale survey exhibition prompts us to consider how various artistic media, initiated from two-dimensional works on paper, can be seeds through which Kentridge has developed his concerns for history, particularly in relation to his home continent, Africa, and its historical ties further afield. By mapping these histories we consider the artist’s relationship to the world and ideas of self-actualisation and the illusions of power and progress through a violent history. Kentridge’s work, while ambiguous, does not hide from its inherent traumatic history. It is an honour for me to work with one of the living masters of our time,” says Azu Nwagbogu, curator of the exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA.

Both exhibitions will include major works from Kentridge’s extensive oeuvre and will be accompanied by two new publications, conceived in collaboration between Norval Foundation, Zeitz MOCAA and the artist. The exhibitions will also be accompanied by a series of talks and performances with the artist and leading voices in the cultural sector.

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