William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
Drawing for 'HOT[E]L' signed 'KENTRIDGE' (lower left) mixed media collage 55.5 x 77cm (21 7/8 x 30 5/16in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from Gallery MOMO, Johannesburg, by the current owner, circa 2001
The current lot is a drawing and collage for the 1997 collaborative film (with Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins) HOTEL, or HOT L as the artist refers to it, as in the film the "E" of the neon sign intermittently splutters and dies. Drawing for HOT[E]L is a rare and unusual work, as the protagonist has articulated limbs (recalling the artist's long engagement with puppet theatre) and can be set in a variety of positions. The chair and lamp, in Indian ink, are collage elements by Robert Hodgins, affixed to the original drawing.
Several of Kentridge's films include sequences in which the isolated protagonist finds himself in a sparsely-furnished room, from the internally (and visually) divided Soho in Stereoscope (1999), to the forlorn figure of Felix in Exile (1994). Hotel rooms spaces in which the protagonist can withdraw from society become sites for self-examination. An oversized Bakelite telephone, one of the artist's recurring objects of personal iconography, provides the figure's only company and connection to the outside world.