Middle East & Africa

William Kentridge
9 Films

The lithograph 9 Films was made for the first showing of Kentridge’s 9 Drawings for Projection in South Africa. The drawings were made over fourteen years, from Johannesburg: Second Greatest City after Paris (1989) to Tide Table (2003). The films explore the socio-political climate of the city, showing the heavy shadows the past casts over the aspirations for the future. The subject of the environment and the impact of exploitative mining on the city are also traced in the films, specifically the physical scars on the landscape and the national memory. Here, we see an oversized camera in the landscape looking down on the city. The omnipresence of global attention is brought to mind in this piece, where the colossal camera could be understood as an analogy for what it might feel like to live in post-apartheid South Africa. The camera appears to be filming a precarious architectural structure to the right of the tableau, which seems to be unstable and falling down.

William Kentridge (b. 1955, Johannesburg) is known for his prints, drawings and animated expressionist films that explore the concerns of post-apartheid South Africa. The artist draws and erases in the process of creating a work, then projects the looped images to show the stages of creation and articulate the narrative of the oeuvre. In his often-monochromatic works, subjects of time, colonialism and political aspirations are intimately explored. Kentridge has been praised internationally for his unique hybridized method of practice, innovatively manipulating new media and drawing that does not exploit the complex political situation in South Africa and provides insight and knowledge of the context to the global art milieu.