November 23, 2004
WOOSTER, Ohio — William Kentridge Prints, an exhibition featuring more than 100 prints by the prominent South African artist best known for his work in theatre and film, will be on display at The College of Wooster Art Museum Jan. 18 through March 6. The exhibition, organized by the Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College (Iowa), will be presented in the Burton D. Morgan Gallery and the Sussel Gallery in Ebert Art Center (1220 Beall Ave.).
Kentridge’s erasure-laden animated films about his country’s struggle with apartheid and its aftermath brought him international acclaim in the late 1990s, and this exhibition of prints examines in depth a rarely seen aspect of this versatile artist. His artwork reveals a combination of pain, loss, sadness, and suffering as well as humor and pleasure.
“William Kentridge makes reference to the harsh realities and the history of his homeland,” says Kay Wilson, exhibition curator and curator of collections at Grinnell College, “but his poetic and haunting work transcend the complex problems of South Africa to address the human condition.”
Born in Johannesburg in 1955, Kentridge is the descendant of Central European immigrants to South Africa and the son of two anti-apartheid lawyers. He pursued politics and African studies while in college, and was influenced by the radical drawings of South African artist and activist Mslaba Dumile Geelboi Mgxaji Feni (1942-1991). Kentridge’s work was included in Documenta X, in Kassel, Germany in 1997, and he was the subject of a retrospective organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in 2001–2003.
Kentridge, who began studying printmaking at a young age, employs multiple processes to explore ways of combining printing techniques and altering plates by drawing over, hand-coloring, and re-imaging the print at each state. The prints in this exhibition — ranging in date from 1976 to 2004 — include processes such as monoprinting, photogravure, linocut, and sugar lift.
“Kentridge’s prints often document disaster and lead to moral reflection,” says Susan Stewart, professor of English at Princeton University and author of the exhibition catalogue essay. “His work directly addresses questions of spectatorship, surveillance, witnessing, and catharsis. He demonstrates a passion for drawing as revision and enjoys the element of surprise.”
Some of the fictional characters from his films, like Felix Teitelbaum, a poetdreamer, and Soho Eckstein, a melancholy industrialist, appear in the exhibition. Although the artist stopped making social protest works after the 1970s, aspects of both the political and the prosaic combine in his work to surpass their original meanings and become a model of modernity, where erasure stands in for the loss of historical memory.
The final exhibition of the season at The College of Wooster Art Museum will take place from March 29 through May 15, 2005, and will feature the mixed media photography of Bridget Milligan, assistant professor of art, in conjunction with an exhibition of artist’s books selected from the permanent collection.
The College of Wooster Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. All receptions, lectures, exhibitions, and performances are free and open to the public. Group tours are also available. The Kentridge exhibition and related events are supported, in part, by the Ohio Arts Council with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
For more information, call 330-263-2388 or visit.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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