EYE presents If We Ever Get to Heaven, an exhibition with work by the celebrated South African artist William Kentridge (Johannesburg, 1955). Kentridge achieved renown with his remarkable animations, charcoal drawings and installations. He is also active as an opera and theatre director. It is for the first time that such an extensive exhibition featuring a number of installations by Kentridge has been presented in the Netherlands.
Specially for EYE, Kentridge developed More Sweetly Play the Dance, a frieze of moving images measuring some 45 meters in length. In addition to this new work, EYE is presenting three other large works by Kentridge, including the impressive film installation on eight screens entitled I Am Not Me, the Horse Is Not Mine from 2008, based on The Nose, a short story by the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol from 1836. Also on view is Other Faces (2011), the tenth and most recent work in the series Drawings for Projection (1989-2011).
A major recurring theme in the work of Kentridge is the charged history of his native South Africa. Often applying drawn and erased animations and simple pre-cinema techniques, Kentridge succeeds in capturing this conflict in all its complexity, and sketches a world full of social inequality.
In addition to his visual work, William Kentridge works as a director in opera and theatre. He worked for a number of years with the Netherlands Opera and the Holland Festival on, among others, Monteverdi's Il ritorno d’Ulisse in 2003 and Schubert's Winterreise in 2014. During the upcoming Holland Festival, he will direct Alan Berg’s opera Lulu, for which he drew inspiration from the silent films of the 1920s and ‘30s (including those in the EYE Collection), the era in which Lulu was created.
More Sweetly Play the Dance has been made in response to an invitation and with support from lichtsicht – Projection Biennale, Bad Rothenfelde and EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
Three big installations are on display in the exhibition:
More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015)
The new work made by William Kentridge specially for EYE is a 45-metre-long frieze that depicts an endless parade of figures who collectively form a kaleidoscopic image of people on the move. These are pictures that hit us every day through the media, of people fleeing from hunger, war and sickness, which Kentridge sublimates into an impressive procession that evokes their sadness yet also conveys their vitality.
I Am Not Me, the Horse Is Not Mine (2008)
The impressive film installation I Am Not Me, the Horse Is Not Mine is based on The Nose, a short story by Nikolai Gogol. For this piece, Kentridge found inspiration in the constructivist experiments of the Russian avant-garde, revolutionary texts and the opera that Shostakovich based on The Nose.
Other Faces (2011)
Other Faces is the tenth and most recent work in the series Drawings for Projection (1989-2011). In this series, Kentridge films his own charcoal drawings while effacing and redrawing these. Layer upon layer, history is being overwritten.
The exhibition is being accompanied by a comprehensive accompanying program in the cinemas, with William Kentridge himself being a guest twice.
Below this page you will find an overview.
Accompanying the exhibition is a lavishly illustrated publication entitled More Sweetly Play the Dance. It documents the creation of his new work in words and pictures, with an essay by William Kentridge.
More Sweetly Play the Dance is published by EYE and nai010publishers, and is for sale in the EYE shop. Language: English. Price: €19.50
William Kentridge studied Politics and African Studies at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation. In Paris he studied mime and theatre at L’école internationale de théâtre de Jacques Lecoq (1981-1982). He was one of the founders of the Free Filmmakers Co-op in Johannesburg in 1988 and has also worked since 1992 with the South African Handspring Puppet Company. In addition, Kentridge is also active as an opera and theatre director for renowned opera houses and theatre festivals such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Royal Opera House in London and the Avignon Theatre Festival.Kentridge has exhibited his visual work at Documenta in Kassel (2002 and 2012), the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Albertina in Vienna and the Venice Biennale.