The Largest William Kentridge Exhibition in Africa


WORDS Michaela Stehr IMAGES courtesy of Norval Foundation

The largest William Kentridge exhibition to be held in Africa in more than a decade is set to open at two leading local art institutions this month.

The internationally acclaimed artist’s work will be shown in two parts: at Norval Foundation, entitled Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture and at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), entitled Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work, from 24 August 2019 until 23 March 2020.

Triumphs & Laments (2013)

Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture will display three-dimensional works created over the past 19 years.

“Norval Foundation is presenting, for the first time, an exhibition focused solely on William Kentridge’s sculptural practice, working in conjunction with the artist and his studio,” says Karel Nel, Senior Advising Curator at Norval Foundation. “Kentridge’s’ sculptures embrace a spontaneous approach and have recently evolved towards the massive and the monumental. Simultaneously, and intension to the monumental aspects of his practice, he is revealed to be a choreographer as much as a sculptor.”

Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work will exhibit both newer and older drawings, videos, stop-frame animations, tapestries, large-scale installations and sculptures, as well as pieces on view for the first time, covering over 40 years worth of work.

“This large-scale survey exhibition prompts us to consider how various artistic media, initiated from two-dimensional works on paper, can be seeds through which Kentridge has developed his concerns for history, particularly in relation to his home continent, Africa and its historical ties further afield,” says Azu Nwagbogu, curator of the exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA. “By mapping these histories, we consider the artist’s relationship to the world and ideas of self-actualisation, and the illusions of power and progress through a violent history. Kentridge’s work, while ambiguous, does not hide from its inherent traumatic history. It is an honour for me to work with one of the living masters of our time.”

O Sentimental Machine (2015)

Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture will run at the Atrium and Galleries 2-8 at Norval Foundation, 4 Steenberg Road, Tokai from 24 August 2019 to 23 March 2020 and is curated by Karel Nel, Owen Martin, Talia Naicker and Vicky Lekone.

Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work will run in the Level 3 Galleries and throughout Zeitz MOCAA in the Silo District at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town from 25 August 2019 to 23 March 2020 and is curated by Azu Nwagbogu, assisted by Tammy Langtry.

Read our Q&A with William Kentridge on page 138 in the latest issue of VISI (VISI 103).