William Kentridge b.1955

Kentridge was born in Johannesburg to Sydney and Felicia Kentridge, both his parents advocates (barristers) who represented people marginalized by the apartheid system. He was educated at King Edward VII School in Houghton, Johannesburg. He showed great artistic promise from an early age, and in 2016 became the first artist ever to have a catalogue raisonné devoted to his juvenilia. He earned a degree in Politics and African Studies at the University of Witwatersrand. In the early 1980s, he studied mime and theatre at the L’Ecole Interationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. He originally hoped to become an actor, but he reflected later: “I was fortunate to discover at a theatre school that I was so bad an actor [… that] I was reduced to an artist, and I made my peace with it.”

Kentridge is best known for his animated films, the central focus of Kentridge’s oeuvre has been to examine the years before and after apartheid. The artist conflates his autobiography with that of fictionalized characters to relate his narratives, rendering his signature expressive, gestural drawings in black charcoal and ink. The animated films are constructed by filming a drawing, making erasures and changes, and filming it again. He continues this process meticulously, giving each change to the drawing a quarter of a second to two seconds’ screen time. A single drawing will be altered and filmed this way until the end of a scene. Kentridge gained international acclaim for his short film series 9 Drawings for Projection (1989–2003).

Kentridge works extensively with many forms of printmaking, tapestry, sculpture, theatre and opera sets. In 2016, his solo exhibition “Thick Time” opened at White Chapel Gallery in London to critical acclaim, evoking 1920s-era technology and Dadaist collage. Kentridge has also directed several operas, most notably the 2017 production Wozzeck. The artist continues to live and work in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kentridge’s works are held in the collections The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Goetz Collection in Munich, among others.... read more

William Kentridge Prints

Sleeper Black

William Kentridge: Sleeper Black, 1997

Sleeper I

William Kentridge: Sleeper I, 1997

Eight Vessels

William Kentridge: Eight Vessels, 2021