William Kentridge

William Kentridge

Eye Filmmuseum

William Kentridge, More Sweetly Play the Dance (still), 2015. Video.

April 19, 2015

William Kentridge
If We Ever Get to Heaven

25 April–30 August 2015 

EYE Filmmuseum Amsterdam
IJpromenade 1
1031 KT Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Hours: Saturday–Thursday 11–19h, 
Friday 11–21h


Starting on 25 April, EYE is presenting the exhibition If We Ever Get to Heaven, featuring work by the celebrated South African artist William Kentridge (b. 1955, Johannesburg). Kentridge achieved renown with his remarkable animation films, charcoal drawings and installations composed of film, sound, music and sculptural objects, and he is also active as an opera and theatre director. At the invitation of EYE in Amsterdam and the lichtsicht – Projection Biennale in Bad Rothenfelde, Germany, Kentridge developed More Sweetly Play the Dance, a frieze of moving images measuring some 45 metres in length. EYE also presents some other large works by Kentridge, including a film installation on eight screens titled I Am Not Me, the Horse Is Not Mine from 2008, based on The Nose, a short story by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol from 1836. This is the first time that such an extensive exhibition featuring a number of installations by Kentridge has been presented in the Netherlands.  

A major recurring theme in the work of William Kentridge is the charged history of his native South Africa. Perhaps unsurprisingly for the son of two prominent anti-Apartheid lawyers, Kentridge succeeds in capturing this conflict in his work in all its complexity. Often applying animations and simple pre-cinema techniques, Kentridge sketches a world in which political reality plays a key role.

Forms, and hence meanings, are subject to constant change in Kentridge’s work, as is evident not only in his animations, drawn and erased in charcoal, but also in his kinetic objects, collages, drawings and other works. As Kentridge himself put it, his work is about “….taking sense and deconstructing it, taking nonsense and seeing if sense can be constructed from it.” 

His highly diverse body of work includes observations of and reflections on the world, 
constantly revealing its ambiguities. In the process, he is able to raise his work above the political conflict in his native country and give it wide human meaning and significance. 

“I have never tried to make illustrations of Apartheid, but the drawings and films are certainly spawned by and feed off the brutalized society left in its wake. I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain endings.”

Endless parade
Titled More Sweetly Play the Dance, the new work made by Kentridge 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. 

In addition to this new work, EYE is presenting the impressive film installation on eight screens I Am Not Me, the Horse Is Not Mine from 2008, based on The Nose, a short story by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol from 1836. Also on view is Other Faces (2011), the tenth and most recent work from the series “Drawings for Projection” (1989–2011). 

The exhibition was initiated and curated by Jaap Guldemond in collaboration with Marente Bloemheuvel.

Accompanying the exhibition is a lavishly illustrated publication titled More Sweetly Play the Dance, which documents the making of the new work in words and pictures, and includes a text by William Kentridge. Language: English. Published by EYE and nai010publishers. 

Public programme: 7 perspectives on If We Ever Get to Heaven and Lulu
The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive programme in EYE’s cinemas, amongst which are:

Between Brothers – The Soho Chronicles
1 May, 7:30pm
With Matthew Kentridge’s book The Soho Chronicles (2015) as a starting point, the brothers William and Matthew Kentridge talk about the two main characters of the series Drawings for Projection (William Kentridge, 1989–2011). 

Around Lulu
28 May, 7:15pm
William Kentridge and Pierre Audi discuss the era and cultural environment in which Alban Berg’s opera Lulu was created. Featuring clips from Weimar films from EYE’s collection, including Berlin, die Sinfonie einer Grossstadt (1927) and Der blaue Engel (1930).

The Screen as Memory – South Africa and Apartheid
25 June, 7:15pm 
The South African anti-Apartheid activist and judge Albie Sachs discusses the history of his country on the basis of the documentary Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa (Abbie Ginzberg, 2014). Preceded by Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris (Kentridge, 1989). In collaboration with the Prince Claus Fund.

On Your Feet: A Parade of Flash Lectures
29 August, 8pm
The parade is a form that Kentridge often deploys, for instance in his newest work More Sweetly Play the Dance. Film images of processions of people move across the walls of the EYE film theatre, while the audience listens to short lectures about ancient Greek processions, grotesque parades and walking philosophers.

For more information about the film programmes, see eyefilm.nl/kentridge.

William Kentridge – If We Ever Get to Heaven was made possible with support from the Ammodo Fund.

William Kentridge at EYE Filmmuseum Amsterdam
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April 19, 2015

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