William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows

William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows

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Off Campus

William Kentridge’s first monograph presentation at The Broad and his first major exhibition in Los Angeles in two decades will feature more than 130 works in an engaging and interactive design by Belgian designer Sabine Theunissen. Surveying 35 years of the celebrated South African artist’s practice, this landmark exhibition includes all 18 works from the Broad collection with substantial loans from across the United States and South Africa. Curated by Ed Schad, the exhibition is organized both thematically and chronologically throughout the museum’s first-floor galleries. A highlight of the exhibition is The Broad collection’s 30-minute five-channel video and multimedia installation The Refusal of Time (2012). 

Kentridge grew up in Apartheid-era Johannesburg, and he has continued to live there throughout his life. His studio practice is inherently collaborative and expansive, spanning drawing, filmmaking, printmaking, sculpture, theater, opera, and installation. In addition to key drawings, sculptures, prints, and tapestries featured at The Broad, the artist’s 11 Drawings for Projection films will be on view, as well as a series of films that reflect on early cinema, including 7 Fragments for Georges MélièsDay for Night, and Journey to the Moon (all 2003), a suite of nine short films that prominently feature the artist himself and celebrate the artist’s studio as a site of experimentation and associative play.

Many recent drawings will be shown that were created for his monumental performance project The Head & the Load (2018), which unearth the neglected histories of Africans and Africa in World War I. Important early works rarely or never before seen in the United States—such as Domestic Scenes (1980) (54 etchings tied to Kentridge's work in theater) the Art in a State of Grace, Art in a State of Hope, Art in a State of Siege (all 1988)—show Kentridge’s long-lasting political engagement, upholding artistry and the creative act as its own form of transformative knowledge.