William Kentridge :
Griffin Art Projects, North Vancouver
Curated by Lisa Baldissera
May 29 - September 4, 2021
The motif of the colander has often appeared in the work of renowned South African artist William Kentridge, eliciting how and when formative state and institutional structures give way, beginning with his examination of post-apartheid South Africa and extending to authoritarian ideologies, regimes and failed states in other parts of the world. Migration, the vulnerability and provisionality of memory and historical account, the absurd and the capricious nature of power and perception in the architecture of socio-political life, are concepts that run throughout Kentridge’s expressive work. Formally, fragmentation and assemblage itself is a conceptual and methodological tool for how the works are made, ordered, shaped and re-ordered in his drawings, films, performances, set design, prints, paintings and sculptures.
This exhibition presents the first solo exhibition to be held in Vancouver on the work of this eminent artist and includes key works from the 1990s through to never-before-seen projects produced in 2020-2021. Drawing from private collections in Western Canada as well as a selection of previous works, including the decades long film cycle, Drawings for Projections (1989 – 2020), this exhibition also features new works from the Kentridge Studio, South Africa produced during the global pandemic.
William Kentridge: The Colander explores the critique of political structures in Kentridge’s printmaking and filmmaking—looking at the layered, kinetic and collaged nature of his formal working processes, to investigate the porousness and vulnerability of artmaking and life—as well as the processes of the studio in his most recent series, Studio Life.
Photos by Rachel Topham, courtesy of Griffin Art Projects.
William Kentridge, Triumphs and Laments Woodcuts
2018-19, Diptych 188cm x 350cm (74" x 138")
Published by David Krut Workshop, by collaborating Master Printer Jillian Ross
William Kentridge, What Will Come, 2007
35 mm b/w film transferred to digital video disk (DVD), 8:40 minutes, cold rolled steel table and polished 6 mm steel cylinder
Image courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery
Planned with the research and curatorial assistance of Master Printer Jillian Ross of Jillian Ross Print, and the generous collaboration of Brendan Copestake of Parts & Labour, along with VivianeArt, Calgary and David Krut Workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Griffin Art Projects is grateful to the Richmond Art Gallery, the Polygon Gallery, Wood Shop Vancouver, Fine Art Framing and the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission for their generous support in the presentation of this exhibition.
Text by Lisa Baldissera
Norton Lectures, 2012
Six Drawing Lessons
Drawing Lesson One : In Praise of Shadows
William Kentridge presented the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures in 2012, entitled “Six Drawing Lessons.” Incorporating elements of graphic design and ranging freely from discussions of Plato’s cave to the Enlightenment’s role in colonial oppression to the depiction of animals in art,
Six Drawing Lessons is an illustration of its own thesis of how art creates knowledge. Foregrounding the very processes by which we see,
Kentridge makes us more aware of the mechanisms—and deceptions—through which we construct meaning in the world.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive public program, titled Worldings, which includes an international and Canadian online virtual conference as well as public programs and residencies, that explore the unique artistic perspectives and histories that exist in Canadian and South African experience as seen through the eyes of artists, writers, curators and activists.
The project reflects on the concept of ‘the colander’ and how the global events of 2020-2021 expose, through the experiences that have unfolded in each place, unique histories of precarity, globalization and colonization, to focus on resilience and resistance.
This project initially was conceived to consider parallels that exist between Canadian and South African histories of colonization, as well as each country’s eventual Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the reverberations and effects of these colonial political regimes within contemporary 21st century life.
This has since unfolded into a program that will focus on the resiliency with which these challenges have been faced through the lens of the events of historical events of the last year, and the ways in which solidarity, resistance and advocacy are remitted in hope, for their capacities to elicit lasting structural change and collective care.