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William Kentridge the sculptor

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Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture is the first exhibition internationally to address Kentridge’s output as a sculptor and is a unique focus on this aspect of his practice.   

Here’s your chance to see the magnitude of William Kentridge’s work as a sculptor. 

In Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture, visitors encounter a range of new and historical artworks that have been produced over the last two decades, which narrate Kentridge’s engagement with three- dimensional form.  

Running until 23 March 2020, Norval Foundation’s exhibition will coincide with a complimentary exhibition Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings to Work, at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which takes Kentridge’s drawing practice as its focal point. 

Kentridge the sculptor 

Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture is the first exhibition internationally to address Kentridge’s output as a sculptor and is a unique focus on this aspect of his practice.  

Covering several bodies of work and testifying to his longstanding improvisation when handling three-dimensional form, this exhibition 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 this exhibition. 

A central concern of Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture is an understanding that Kentridge’s sculptures have agency.  

Kinetic sculptures make use of megaphones on survey tripods, a deft nod to Russian Constructivism, and imply a propogandist’s broadcasting of an impersonal and mechanical authority.  

In Singer Trio (2018), for example, ‘ready-made’ sewing machines are given voices for a performance enacted in unison, their megaphones synchronised as they take on a new and humorous presence in this world. 

Many of Kentridge’s sculptures embody an animated spectacle.  

Proceeding through a seemingly random construction of abstract planes, as in World on its Hind Legs (2009), we see how graphic forms unexpectedly align, snapping into an organized whole which is visually and metaphorically charged.  

Move a little further, and the form dissipates once again. 

Elsewhere, Kentridge’s repertoire of everyday objects and off-the-cuff ideas are translated into rows of small bronze sculptures, syntactically arranged on a shelving unit to read as lines of text on a page.  

In Paragraph II (2018), horse, nose, jug, camera, megaphone and others, line up to seemingly make rebuses, those visual puzzles evoking words which so delighted the early Surrealists. 

This is a must-see exhibition if you’re in and around the Steenberg area of Cape Town before 23 March 2020. 

Get to know the artist more here. 

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