, Millers Point right next door to the Lord Nelson Hotel. The shopfront space follows a bend in the road, so it isn’t until you actually round the corner and are standing in front of the window, that you have any sense of what it is.
|Kath Fries Scorch V 2011 (detail)
bronze, twine and charcoal
image courtesy the artist and Gallery 8, Sydney
The wall pieces are small bronzed magnolia branches, slightly more than twigs, dotted with buds. Some are intertwined with a rough string, some weighed down with a pendulum-like lump of charcoal. She speaks of things impermanent being rendered permanent. The budding branch is destroyed in the casting process but reformed in bronze, its burgeoning growth suspended in time. Fiery processes have destroyed both the branch and the wood, to recreate one as a bronze replica and the other, a charcoal remnant. The small branches sit as ‘details’ of the large floor installation, Hold dear 2011. Medium becomes the metaphor for the artist who says of her practice “the transcience of existence and fragility of life are recurring themes….”. www.kathfries.com
The sheer volume of work and Kentridge’s capacity to create so intensely across so many media – prints, drawings, sculpture, video/ film, costume design, opera direction – is breathtaking. He is South African and lives in Johannesburg, a city which he claims as his inspiration. This small archive reveals his work to be a multi-faceted, complex, international practice, part political commentary, theatre of the absurd and observations of uncertainties in daily life. He reflects on the cultural and political shifts in a country which has undergone vast shifts in recent decades, a bit like the Goya of his time and place. At times he works alone and at times brings together many talented collaborators, but either way his practice is firmly rooted in the basics: his sense of place and his desire to draw. Drawing is fundamental. The charcoal drawings are what creates the wonder in the stop-animation film Other voices (bought by the National Gallery of Australia). This is a jaw-dropping feat of drawing and erasing, adding and subtracting of imagery.
Dense and rough and large in scale, the many B&W drawings which make up this film are wonderfully expressive and dynamic. They create a story that is in part narrative and in part dream like. Each image is part erased, part redrawn as animation requires, but often not quite rubbed away so a ghostly shadow remains.
|William Kentridge Drawing for the film Other voices 2011
charcoal & coloured pencil on paper
image courtesy the artist and Annandale Galleries, Sydney
The video Anti-mercator is very different in style, combining many filmic techniques, including stop animation, in which Kentridge toys with concepts of time. Random, dadaesque even, with the artist himself front & centre, lecturing, drawing, running, commenting. Again drawing is fundamental, at one stage even being ‘undrawn’ as the film is run backwards. As a dear friend’s mother always said, “time is a human construct” and we are beholden to it. It is a destructive yet predictable force and it is because of this, we seek to hold onto order. Kentridge is quoted in John McDonald’s essay in the accompanying cataloge: “What we do as people is to try and keep coherence in the face of disintegration.“