William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955) The caged panther from 'Confessions of Zeno'

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Lot 25*
William Joseph Kentridge
(South African, born 1955)
The caged panther from 'Confessions of Zeno'

£ 70,000 - 100,000
US$ 83,000 - 120,000
William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
The caged panther from 'Confessions of Zeno'
signed 'Kentridge' (lower right)
charcoal and coloured chalk
80 x 120cm (31 1/2 x 47 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • This charcoal is a working drawing Kentridge made in 2002 for Confessions of Zeno, a theatrical multimedia performance that was staged at Documenta XI in Kassel, Germany. The piece was a collaboration between Kentridge, the Handspring Puppet Company, Kevin Volans, Jane Taylor, The Duke Quartet and Dawid Minnaar.

    Inspired by Italo Svevo's 1923 novel, La coscienza di Zeno, the film piece depicts a dialogue between the tormented and guilt ridden protagonist, Zeno, and his psychoanalyst. In the book, the dialogue takes place in Trieste on the eve of WWI. A middle class businessman, Zeno is reduced to bankruptcy when he goes into partnership with his feckless brother-in-law. To add to his financial woes, Zeno is also experiencing turbulence in his marriage, having developed strong feelings for his wife's younger sister. His personal turmoil echoes the wider geopolitical situation.

    This particular drawing depicts a panther pacing in a cage, and symbolises Zeno's frustrated sexual desires and professional ambitions. As well as referencing the protagonist's disordered libido, the image also alludes to Rilke's 1902 poem, 'The Panther':

    "It seems to him there are
    a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

    As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
    The movement of his powerful soft strides
    is like a ritual dance around a center
    in which a mighty will stands paralyzed."

    The motif of the caged animal is one that continues to fascinate Kentridge. This animation will feature in an adaptation of Kafka's 'The Hunger Artist' he is currently working on.
Contacts
William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955) The caged panther from 'Confessions of Zeno'
William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955) The caged panther from 'Confessions of Zeno'
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