WILLIAM KENTRIDGE

William Kentridge. Felix in Exile. 1994

35mm film transferred to video (colour, sound). 8:43 min.

Much of Kentrideg’s work comes out of the brutalised society which came in the wake of Apartheid in South Africa. Here in the work, the activity in 1994 just before the first democratic elections in south Africa when there was much violence. Kentridge starts his works with a drawing he knows and is familiar with, but hopes in the process of drawing other images and ideas will come to him. The main subject in the piece ‘Felix in Exile’, a woman, develops and grows with the narrative. She is both a depiction (evidence) of one of the many individuals lost at this time, but she also represents the fixing of events the time the landscape. Kentridge draws her with the sextant and theodolite surveying and navigating. These instruments are significant and are turned in Kentridge himself in the story. He also includes an old fashion seismograph, which he sees turning and monitoring the activity in the earth and metaphorically absorbing the people that die in the story back in to land, “history absorbing its people’. Which he believe stands for history in general. Kentridge wants to raise the question of ‘how can we hang onto things which we feel should feel so strongly about but which get weaker and weaker in time’.

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http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kentridge-felix-in-exile-t07479/text-summary….Kentridge makes short animation films from large-scale drawings in charcoal and pastel on paper. Each drawing, which contains a single scene, is successively altered through erasing and redrawing and photographed in 16 or 35mm film at each stage of its evolution. Remnants of successive stages remain on the paper, and provide a metaphor for the layering of memory, which is one of Kentridge’s principal themes. The films in this series, titled Drawings for Projection are set in the devastated landscape south of Johannesburg where derelict mines and factories, mine dumps and slime dams have created a terrain of nostalgia and loss. Kentridge’s repeated erasure and redrawing, which leave marks without completely transforming the image, together with the jerky movement of the animation, operate in parallel with his depiction of human processes, both physical and political, enacted on the landscape. Felix in Exile is Kentridge’s fifth film. It was made from forty drawings and is accompanied by music by Phillip Miller and Motsumi Makhene.

 

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