William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
Preparing the Flute (fig 9) signed 'KENTRIDGE' (lower right) charcoal and pastel 236 x 80cm (92 15/16 x 31 1/2in).
EXHIBITED: Johannesburg, Goodman Gallery, Preparing the Flute, 4 June 2005 16 July 2005
Commissioned to create and direct a production of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute for La Monnaie, Brussels, Kentridge embarked on an extensive body of work the opera itself, a film, two miniature theatre works, an anamorphic film and numerous prints and drawings between 2003 and 2005. The current lot is an original drawing for Preparing the Flute, an abridged form of the opera as a miniature theatre, originally used as a working model in Brussels.
Prior to his work on The Magic Flute commission, Kentridge had been working on Journey to the Moon, a film which explores the visual magic of the artist in creating vast universes peppered with strange orbits and stellar journeys (a direct allusion to early French filmmaker George Méliès). This "cosmic framework" informed The Magic Flute, and finds expression in the whirling spirals and annotations of the current lot, allied to the preoccupation with measurement, categorisation and recording which was the Enlightenment's archival impulse.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Rosenthal, 'William Kentridge: A Portrait of the Artist', in William Kentridge: Five Themes, (San Francisco, 2009), pp.36-65. p.54