Thursday, June 23, 2005

William Kentridge@Prospeck Park

Among the very best concerts ever held in Prospect Park just ended.
The concert featured a performance by Hugh Masekela, the jazz trumpeter par excellance. After a spirited and moving set by Mr. Masekela and his band, an unprecedented presentation of a different sort took place at the bandshell.
William Kentridge presented 9 Drawings for Projection - a collection of animations accompanied by a string quartet conducted by Philip Miller.

Now I see the connection between Robert Gober’s latest work and the drawings on William Kantridge: the straight-forward hard-nosed graphic style is common to both.

William Kentridge: Quite the Opposite of Cartoons
by Philippe Moins

Soho Eckstein is a fat person; some kind of real-estate magnate. With his striped suits and pudgy features, you would place him somewhere between Bolshevik caricatures of capitalists and the expressionist images of the Weimar Republic.

Felix Teitelbaum we only see from the back--to begin with at least. Passive and dreamy, he's around for the rise of Soho Eckstein, and again for his downfall, which is the only time we see Soho in a more humane light. Around them, South Africa, confiscated by the whites, breaks free. Felix only becomes active when he deceives Soho by having an affair with Sarah Eckstein, the entrepreneur's wife. Even then, only his tongue is active, as if his sacred body dedicated all of its life to this substitute for sex.

In each short animation, Felix Teitelbaum progressively resembles his creator William Kentridge more and more, like those self-portraits from the Renaissance in which the artist depicts himself in one corner of the picture. However, there is also something of Kentridge in Soho Eckstein, this privileged white man who thinks that nothing can resist him, and builds massive monuments to his own work.

In a universe of devastated landscapes, wounded bodies, and out-dated means of communication (bakelite telephones, megaphones, and stadium-style loudspeakers) and measuring instruments (theodolites and sextants) signaling unknown shores, the heroes of this animated drawing evolve--and the term animated drawings can be taken in its most literal sense.

In contrast to the first episodes in which Soho and apartheid absolutely rule, where everything is either good or bad, black and white, as judged by our western viewpoint, a more subtle, moving and sincere point of view followed, culminating with Felix in Exile, History of the Main Complaint, and Weighing and Wanting.

The uncertainty of the times and the relationships between people is mirrored in the landscape and figures which are rendered in black, sometimes soft, sometimes hesitant, charcoal, drawn mostly in shadows and sketches rather than with well-defined details.

-Read more here.

1 comment:

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