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William Kentridge comes to Camberwell : In Conversation and reception event

WKWoodcut 2
WKWoodcut 2

Written by
John Wallace
Published date
24 April 2018

Camberwell College of Arts in association with Print Quarterly are proud to present the second Print Quarterly Platform Event: Paul Coldwell in conversation with William Kentridge.

William Kentridge , born in South Africa, is one of the pre-eminent artists of his generation, working across media that include drawing, film, performance, prints and sculpture leaving a legacy of works which ‘declare his allegiance to the humanist project and to a version of realism and social  engagement’ (Roger Malbert).

Printmaking has been close to the centre of his practice as an artist throughout and this conversation between Kentridge and Professor Paul Coldwell will focus on his approach to the print and how it has informed his wider practice – drawings and theatre projects regularly emerge from his prints.

Kentridge’s art regularly draws from themes relating to South African apartheid as well as this era’s history, philosophy, literature, theatre, as well as early film and theatre. It is unsurprising that political upheaval is a predominant focus of Kentridge’s work as he studied Politics and African Studies at university and his lawyer father represented Nelson Mandela.

Through art, Kentridge visits notable moments in political history and manages to give them recognition in contemporary contexts.  He reminds us that social, ethical or constitutional upheavals are a global responsibility.  They don’t solely concern the nation in which they unravel.

Kentridge combines old and new artistic mediums, such as film and charcoal and he is work is conscious of the colonial history of linocut printmaking in Africa. The medium had been was introduced in Africal in the 1960s under the influence of German expressionism, which had been inspired by African mask-making.

Kentridge’s work spans a variety of different artforms – he recently directed Alban Berg’s ‘Lulu’ for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the performance piece ‘Refuse the Hour’ at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and a major show in London at the Marian Goodman gallery titled ‘More Sweetly Play the Dance.’

In the last year he has had had gallery exhibitions in Berlin, Milan, Paris and New York, and significant shows at SFMOMA [San Francisco Museum of Modern Art] and the Cincinnati Art Museum, while his “Thick Time” exhibition toured from the Whitechapel Gallery, London, to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg and the Louisiana Museum in Denmark.”

Kentridge is currently preparing for the world premiere of ‘The Head & the Load’ to be staged in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall from 11-15 July. This is probably his most ambitious project to date and combines music, dance, film projections, mechanised sculptures and shadow play to tell the story of the millions of African porters and carriers who served British, French and German forces during the First World War.

This project will draw on every aspect of his practice: drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpting, performance and filmmaking. Working alongside his longtime collaborator Philip Miller, one of South Africa’s leading composers, this celebrated artist creates a stunning audio-visual monument to those who died for a cause that was not their own.

We hope that you can join us in the lecture theatre for this ‘in conversation’ event with one of the most influential and though-provoking artists of our time.

University of the Arts Professor in Fine Art, Paul Coldwell, who leads this discussion, is also a member of the editorial board of the journal Print Quarterly.

Print Quarterly is the leading international journal dedicated to the art of the print from its origins to the present.  The Journal publishes recent scholarship on a wide range of topics, including printmakers, iconography, social and cultural history, popular culture, print collecting, book illustration, decorative prints, and techniques such as engraving, etching, woodcutting, lithography and digital printmaking.

Book your tickets now for £5 (£3 students) which also includes a drink at a post-talk reception.

Find out more about MA Printmaking course at Camberwell.