Invitation card
24 November 2002  By Andries Loots
An exhibition by South African artist William Kentridge which  includes the U.S. premiere of his film,  Zeno Writing ( 2002 ),  and a series of related drawings and graphics from the film opened at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York on the 8 November 2002. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the opening and view the film. It was a remarkable experience to be able to relate the exhibition of charcoal drawings to the actual frames in the film. The exhibition can be viewed until the 4 January 2003. The artists with Andries Loots

The film is based on Italo Svevo’s novel from 1923 Confessions of Zeno , and uses Kentridge’s vocabulary of animation, torn-paper collages, shadow figures in procession, altered charcoal drawings and archival film footage to portray the novel’s main character Zeno, a guilt-ridden figure in psychoanalysis, within the broader social cataclysm of an engulfing world war. Against an original soundtrack by composer Kevin Volans, the film follows the consciousness and anxieties of Zeno, drawing a likeness between his own malcontent, a symbol of the universally conflicted society after World War I, and our own today.  Zeno Writing ( 2002 ); 11 minutes, 16 seconds) had its world premiere at Documenta II in conjunction with the multimedia performance and opera Confessions of Zeno (in collaboration with Kevin Volans, ( composer) ; Jane Taylor, ( librettist) ; The Handspring Puppet Company and The Sontonga Quartet.

 “ When I first read Italo Svevo’s  “Confessions of Zeno”, 1923 some twenty years ago, one of the things that drew me to it was the evocation of Trieste as a rather desperate provincial city at the edge of an empire away from the center, the real world I was intrigued how an Austrian Italian writing in the 1920s could have such a sense of how it felt to be in Johannesburg in the 1980s. In the years following this has persisted.  And caused me to return to the book. But other elements have engaged me as well. Zeno, the hero of Svevo’s novel, has remarkable self knowledge. But it is a knowledge that is without effect. The absolute inability of self knowledge to force Zeno to act or at other times, to stop him from acting, feels familiar. People stuck at the edge of a historical project about to implode, stuck waiting for the eruption to happen. The teasing out of ambiguous sense of place, and the convoluted relation we have to our own sense of self,  form the starting paint for the work...." - William Kentridge

Scene from Zeno Writing

Fred & Andries of Vgallery at the opening

Presently ( 2002-2003 ) William is Adjunct Professor and Artist-in-Residence at the School of Visual Arts, Columbia University, New York.

The touring retrospective exhibition of his works is opening on the 30th of November in Cape Town at the National Gallery and a selection of puppets by Handspring Puppet Company can also be viewed.

A new large scale exhibition is planned to open in February 2004 at the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli ­Turin.

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