William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955) Homecoming

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Lot 9AR
William Joseph Kentridge
(South African, born 1955)
Homecoming

Sold for £ 56,500 (US$ 77,072) inc. premium
William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
Homecoming
signed and dated 'Kentridge '(19)86 15/6' (lower left)
charcoal
91 x 63.5cm (35 13/16 x 25in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Acquired from Cassirer Fine Art, 'William Kentridge', Johannesburg, 1988;
    A private collection.

    Kentridge has described his work as "a portrait of Johannesburg". However, it is the psychological landscape of South Africa that truly interests him. The social upheaval, racial injustice, and violence that characterised apartheid is reflected in his creative process. Kentridge's works in charcoal are created by 'partial erasure', a process in which parts of one drawing are rubbed out and the next drawing is begun over the top of the remnants. This erasure alludes to the way in which the authorities have selectively 'disremembered' the atrocities that have been visited upon sections of South African society throughout modern history.

    "I have never tried to make illustrations of apartheid, but the drawings are certainly spawned by and feed off the brutalized society left in its wake. I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain things. An art (and a politics) in which my optimism is kept in check and my nihilism at bay." (Kentridge)

    In this charcoal drawing, Homecoming, fragmented images are layered one on top of the other. In the background, a built up street with derelict looking buildings recedes into the distance. In the foreground, a man embraces a cheetah, whilst the naked figure to the right turns away from us. The shadowy and indistinct scene is more of a dreamscape, than any recognizable location.

    Curator, Carlyn Christov-Barkargiev, describes Kentridge's work as an "elegiac art that explores the possibility of poetry in contemporary society, and provides a powerful satirical commentary on that society, while proposing a way of seeing life as a continuous process of change rather than a controlled world of facts".
Contacts
William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955) Homecoming
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