William Kentridge

Born: 1955, Johannesburg, South Africa Kentridge grew up in a family of prominent South African attorneys. His father Sydney is among the most renowned lawyers in the country; particularly engaged in defending victims of abuse during apartheid, he led the inquest into Steve Biko’s death in 1977.
Kentridge earned a BA in politics and African studies in 1976 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. From 1976 – 1978 he studied fine art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation, where he later taught printmaking. In 1979, Kentridge had his first solo exhibition at the Market Gallery in Johannesburg. He continued to exhibit his drawings and prints throughout the 1980’s. In the mid 70’s Kentridge became active in film and theatre, working as a writer, director, actor and set designer. During 1981 – 1982 he completed a course in theatre in Paris. William Kentridge is perhaps now best known for his films, theatre and opera. When you walk into any of the well known museums and institutions all over the world, one will quickly recognize that the work of Kentridge's present in the space, through the light and shadows, the sounds spilling from gallery to gallery. The prints of William Kentridge are another form of his art. They are varied and as complex as his films. In much the same way the artist himself uses printmaking in the process of developing his thoughts, an effort is required by the viewer, who must be an active participant in constructing the past and imagining the future.

Artist CV

Solo Exhibitions

- 2007 'What Will Come' Stadel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

- 'What Will Come', Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

- 2006 'William Kentridge/The Magic Flute: drawings and projections' Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.

- 'William Kentridge: 9 Drawings for Projection', Museum of Modern Art, New York

- 'Black Box/Chambre Noire' Johannesburg Art Gallery

- 2005 'William Kentridge' Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

- Guggenheim Museum, Berlin, Germany

- 2004 'William Kentridge', Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, Italy

- 2001 'William Kentridge', Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC

- 2000 'William Kentridge: New Work', Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

- 1999 'Projects 68: William Kentridge', Museum of Modern Art, New York - 'Stereoscope', Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg - 1998 'William Kentridge', The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego

- 'William Kentridge', Stephen Friedman Gallery and A22 Gallery, London

- 'William Kentridge', Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

- 1997 'Applied Drawings', Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

- 1994 'Felix in Exile', Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

- 1992 'Drawings for Projection', Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

- 1991 'Little Morals', Taking Liberties Gallery, Durban, with Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins

- 1990 'William Kentridge: Drawings and Graphics', Cassirer Fine Art

- 1989 'Responsible Hedonism', Vanessa Devereux Gallery, London

- 1987 'In the Heart of the Beast', Vanessa Devereux Gallery, London

- 'Standard Bank Young Artist Award' exhibition, Grahamstown, South Africa, July (touring Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg; University Art Galleries, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; University Art Gallery UNISA, Pretoria; Durban Art Gallery, Durban)

- 1985 'William Kentridge', Cassirer Fine Art, Johannesburg

- 1981 'Domestic Scenes', The Market Gallery, Johannesburg

- 1979 'William Kentridge', The Market Gallery, Johannesburg

Selected Solo Exhibitions

- 2007 'Lift Off Part I', Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town

- 'Local Racism, Global Apartheid', Centre for Contemporary Culture

- 2006 'Venice-Istanbul', Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

- 2005 'The Experience of Art', Italian Pavillion, Venice Biennale

- 2004 'Africa Remix', Museum Kunst Palast, Düatsseldorf, Germany

- 'Faces in the Crowd/Volti nella Folla', Whitechapel Art Gallery, London

- 2003 'Transferts', Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels

- 2002 'Documenta XI', Museum Fredericianum, Kassel, Germany

- 2001 'Animations', P.S.1, New York

- 'Lateral thinking: Art of the 1990's', Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego

- 2000 'Seventh Havana Biennale: Closer to One Another', Havana, Cuba

- 1999 'Kunstwelten im Dialog', Museum Ludwig,Cologne

- 1998 'Hugo Boss Prize Exhibition', Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Soho, New York

- 1997 'Documenta X', Museum Fredericianum, Kassel, Germany

- 'Second Johannesburg Biennale: Trade Routes: History and Geography', Johannesburg

- 1996 'Faultlines: Inquiries into Truth and Reconciliation', The Castle, Cape Town

- 1995 'Africus: First Johannesburg Biennal'

- 1990 'Art from South Africa', Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

- 1989 'African Encounters', Dome Gallery, New York

- 1987 'Three Hogarth Satires', with Deborah Bell and Robert Horgins, at University Art Galleries

- 1985 Cape Town Triennial, South African National Gallery, Cape Town

- 1981 'National Graphic Show' South African Association of Arts, Bellville, Cape Town

Selected Theatre

- 2005 Die Zauberflöte; Kentridge directs. Premiere at La Monnaie, Brussels, travelling to Lille, Naples, Geneva, Cape Town and Johannesburg - 1997 Ubu and the Truth Commission; Kentridge conceives and directs this multi-media theatre production written by Jane Taylor, which has performances in Grahamstown, Avignon, Johannesburg, Stellenbosch, Zurich, New York, Munich, Basel, Stockholm, Prague, Rome, Toulouse and London, amongst others

- 1995 Faustus in Africa; Kentridge conceives and directs this multi-media theatre production, which tours to Grahamstown, Hanover, Basel, London, Lisbon, Seville, Brussels, Marseilles, Paris, Rome and Jerusalem

- 1993 Woyzeck on the Highveld'; Kentridge directs and creates animation for production, which has performances at venues including Grahamstown, Brussels, Glasgow, New York, Hong Kong, Adelaide and Jerusalem

- 1979 Dikhitsheneng: Kentridge scripts and directs Junction Avenue Theatre Company


- 2007 Order of Ikhamanga (Silver), National Orders, Pretoria

- 2006 Jesse L. Rosenberger Medal, Univesity of Chicago (and Kowler Fellowship)

- 2004 Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


- 1973-6 Graduated from University of Witwatersrand with BA in Politics and African Studies

- 1976-8 Studied art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation

- 1981-2 Studied mime and theatre at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris

- 2004 Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

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