The largest exhibition to be held in Africa in over a decade by internationally acclaimed artist William Kentridge is set to open in Cape Town in August. The major exhibition of his work will be hosted simultaneously in two parts by the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) and Norval Foundation, opening 24 August and running through to March 2020.
Why Should I Hesitate: Putting Drawings To Work, will be staged at Zeitz MOCAA and will offer a wide survey of Kentridge’s work, including early works, as well as newer pieces on view for the first time in South Africa. It will cover over 40 years of artistic production (1976 – 2019) in drawing, stop-frame animation, video, prints, sculpture, tapestry, and large-scale installation. The title references Kentridge’s primary practice of drawing, and how this core activity informs and enables his studio practice. It also references the impact of individual action on history and the reverse – how history shapes the contemporary and the future – and works as a commentary on various shifting hegemonies of power politics, economies, language and the authority to narrate history.
“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. 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,” says Azu Nwagbogu, curator of the exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA. “As I begin my tenure, it is an intense joy to host an unprecedented survey show of one of the great masters of contemporary visual political poetry,” says Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator at Zeitz MOCAA.
Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture, will be on view at Norval Foundation, and will present three-dimensional work of William Kentridge from the past 19 years. This will be the first exhibition internationally to address Kentridge’s output as a sculptor. Covering several bodies of work, and testifying to his longstanding and spontaneous improvisation when handling three-dimensional form, Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture sees the origins of these works in props from his operas and images from his animations stepping off the stage and out of the screen, confronting us directly at ground level. Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture will also premiere new works commissioned for the occasion of this special exhibition.
Both exhibitions will include major works from Kentridge’s extensive oeuvre, and will be accompanied by two new publications, conceived in collaboration between Zeitz MOCAA, Norval Foundation and the artist. The exhibitions will be accompanied by a series of talks and performances with the artist, and leading voices in the cultural sector.