Tuesday, 6 July 2010


3/7/10, Jeu de Paume, Paris

A South African artist and videomaker, Kentridge creates multi-screen installations, often "political", involving animation, projection, vivid use of sound, mechanical creatures etc etc. The most striking in this exhibition included an installation based on Mozart's Magic Flute involving two large toy theatres, onto one of which black and white images were projhected to tunes (especially the Queen of the Night's aria) from the opera, while on the other as well as the projections a succession of mechancial figures and devices (like a megaphone on a stand) performed. There was a distorted projection (of images of the veldt and of war, planes, birds, bombs, telegraph poles, clouds) onto a spinning disc mirror which reflected an unindistorted images onto a cylindircal mirror in the centre. There was the room full of videoscreens mainly featuring Kentridge himself, drawing a self portrait which then turned into the artist, who walked away; the blank sheet of paper on which lines and images appeared and disappeared as Kentirdge;'s hands "drew them"; the cup and saucer with a mind of their own; the ladder with which he clkimbed a wall covered with his own images. There's lots of use of stop-frame and reverse-frame animation. In one room was a sculpture of a procession of people bearing burdens, who then turned up stylised in an animation. According to the exhibition programme all this had something to say about apartheid and post-colonialism generally, but I couldn't really see it. The work was mesmerising and bore watching for long periods, much helped by Kentridge's use of audio and music, but his own charcoal drawings lacked something.

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