William Kentridge ” A poem that is not our own “
#BASEL“I practice a political art, that is, an ambiguous, contradictory, unfinished, purposeful art: an art of measured optimism, which rejects nihilism. » said William Kentridge. The South African artist who always fought apartheid and colonialism superbly paved the way for what can now be a political art. Often dominates a victimitarian and Manichean discourse that excludes any form of nuance or criticism, which under the guise of being the voice of a particular ethnic or sexual group, imposes what has always threatened art to get rid of its cursed part: morality and puritanism. To these, William Kentridge responds with poetry, in its broadest expression, by seizing the seeds of all intolerances, misunderstandings and cleavages and making them blossom through drawing, animated and homemade film, theatre and dance.
A devotee of a total art, he explores politics by submitting it to the roots of evil, to its hidden depth, to our rituals and, above all, to the history of this Africa which is written only by the colonizer. The artist plays with brilliance all the rhythms and figures, sometimes cut into Chinese shadows, shake at the bottom of the night like spots of light. The moving images march in the processional slowness of a ceremony. The present and the past interfere in the drawing drawn with virulent strokes then erased, redone on its traces, photographed, then taken again on a newspaper or on cardboard. It’s dirty and alive. The thickness of the charcoal drawing unfolds like frescoes. His cuts, alternately soft, violent or giggling, illustrate nothing, they are only the grotesque figurines of an incantatory rhythm that aims at a form of catharsis to exorcise the demons of history, to make the echo of exile and migration. Between appearance and erasure, everything is at stake here as a metaphor for our relationship to the world.
Born in 1955 in Johannesburg, William Kentridge was noticed at the Documenta in Kassel in 1997. It was exhibited at the Jeu de Paume Museum in 2010 and at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2018.
Until October 13, 2019
William Kentridge, “A poem that is not our own”
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