South African William Kentridge is one of the most internationally significant contemporary artists. He is not just a visual artist but also a filmmaker, director and a great raconteur. His comprehensive body of works has spanned several artistic disciplines for more than three decades now. Berliner Festspiele will present his complete interdisciplinary oeuvre for the first time.
In his performance series “Drawing Lessons”, the artist talks about his specific mode of working and about his political context, from the times of Apartheid until today. The “Drawing Lessons”, which William Kentridge himself will present in a marathon performance, are autobiographical lectures, hybrid pieces of art between theatre, film and drawing and constitute the quintessence of his transdisciplinary way of working as well as the nucleus of the work presented in Berlin. They are the point of departure for his large-scale solo show at Martin-Gropius-Bau, which assembles art works and topics of his oeuvre along the lines of this autobiographical, artistic and political narration.
At the Haus der Berliner Festspiele during the festival Foreign Affairs as well as at Martin-Gropius-Bau, William Kentridge will show both his performative pieces and his visual art work. The spectrum of presented works ranges from early drawings via the famous Méliès and Soho animated films, spatial installations (such as the documenta-project “The Refusal of Time”) to large-scale projections such as the film piece “More Sweetly Play the Dance”, many metres long, which will be presented at Martin-Gropius-Bau and on the façade of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. Theatrical pieces – from “Winterreise”, an evening of Schubert lieder, via his work with the Handspring Puppet Company to chamber opera – will find venues both at Martin-Gropius-Bau and at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.
Born in Johannesburg in 1955, William Kentridge initially studied African Politics for four years, before crossing over to the arts: He studied Free Art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation and Acting and Theatre Studies at the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. William Kentridge has been living and working in Johannesburg since the late 1970s.