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Pain & SympathyWilliam Kentridge
With his video History of the Main Complaint (1996) serving as a backdrop, William Kentridge discusses how artists draw upon tragedy as subject matter for their work and how drawing itself can be a compassionate act.More information and credits
Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: William Kentridge.
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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.
“In the activity of making work, there’s a sense that if you spend a day or two days drawing an object or an image, there’s a sympathy towards that object embodied in the human labor making the drawing.”