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William Kentridge in "Compassion"

William Kentridge asks “how does one find a way of not necessarily illustrating the society that one lives in, but allowing what happens there to be part of the work?” Shooting without a script when making his animations, Kentridge’s experimental method demonstrates “thinking with one’s hands” and proposes an “understanding of the world as process rather than as fact.”

Filmed working in his Johannesburg studio with an opera singer and pianist, the artist is shown creating a video projection out of torn paper choreographed to a Puccini aria recorded through a cell phone. The segment follows Kentridge’s interest in opera as he stages a video installation and performance at the Sydney Biennial in Australia. The segment also showcases a series of anamorphic films projected onto circular tabletops, with a mirrored cylinder at the center that reconstitutes the distorted image.

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Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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William Kentridge

Having witnessed first-hand one of the twentieth century’s most contentious struggles—the dissolution of apartheid—William Kentridge brings the ambiguity and subtlety of personal experience to public subjects that are most often framed in narrowly defined terms. Using film, drawing, sculpture, animation, and performance, he transmutes sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories. In a now-signature technique, Kentridge photographs his charcoal drawings and paper collages over time, recording scenes as they evolve.

“How does one find a way of, not necessarily illustrating the society that one lives in, but allowing what happens there to be part of the work, part of the vocabulary, part of the raw material that is dealt with?”

William Kentridge

2:08
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William Kentridge

3:29
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William Kentridge

2:53
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William Kentridge

14:47
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16:04
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54:30
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