Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kentridge at MoMA

_Felix Crying _ finished state of a drawing from the film Stereoscope_

I started to take an interest in William Kentridge a few years ago after seeing a few things on YouTube. Last year on the PBS series, art: 21, Kentridge continued to amaze me. The MoMA exhibition of his work only confirmed my respect for this mans art. (the link is a terrific resource for understanding the depth of this exhibition)
It has been a long time since I spent so long immersed in any artists work; yet last Friday I took in the Kentridge exhibit for five hours and then decided to return on Saturday for another three. I had to go back because I didn’t know when or if I would ever see this all assembled again. His command of two of my personal forms of expression, namely drawing and film are genius. Perhaps in many ways I see in Kentridge the artist I would like to imagine myself as, not in the sense of envy at his recognition but in his success at bringing to life the intense dialectic of the artist in the studio struggling to bring forward the universal part of himself.

Perhaps I also see the energetic use of drawing as a metaphor for the caged animal Kentridge seems to be as he stalks his imagery in his studio. The drawings we view at the exhibit are not finished so much as exhausted; they are simply stepping-stones to the next drawing. Kenbridge’s method of drawing, erasing and reworking all the while stepping back and filming the progress leaves an extremely energetic surface to the paper before it is abandoned for the next blank page. In his methodology we are witness to a struggle to narrate a story that doesn’t seem quite thought though as it develops; the accidents of drawing seem to lead the artists invention of narrative as much record any intent. The exhibit itself is divided into five themes and in each this drawing/ film making is at the heart: except when it’s not…. Contradictory, yes because the artist also employs theatrical actions and the arrangement of torn paper in much the same way he manipulates the drawing.

View of Magic Flute theater showing prop tracks
One room is devoted to a puppet theater type performance of the Magic Flute. This is a compact wonder of the marriage of high tech computerized mechanics and Kentridges decidedly low tech approach to animation.

Two of the rooms on exhibition are projections to all four walls of the space that immerse the viewer in the rooms theme. Complimentary or conflicting realities are presented to our minds eye to tease apart and this takes time. I found myself stalking the spaces much the way Kentridge does in several of the videos; at time glancing over a shoulder to catch what imagery is going on behind my back. Changing, movement, and contemplation: A rare and poignant look into the soul of an artist.
At MoMA in NYC through May 17th and I hope I have time for another visit!

Lost by Mara Thompson

I received a beautiful original work from Mara Thompson this week. Mara has been working on some great new works lately so take a moment to visit her link to see her inventive collage work.

Now - what is going on in my studio will have to wait for another time. I've spent the past week mostly archiving work and that was a long overdue task without starting new projects. Of course now that I've seen the Kentridge I've got to pick up my pace of drawing or most probably with me, my ink drawing.

Still to come are some thoughts on Marina Abramovic and the not to be missed woodcuts by 19th century Japanese master Kuniyoshi at the Japan Society. Through June 13th.
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