William Kentridge

Felix in Exile, 1994

Kentridge makes short animation films from large-scale drawings in charcoal and pastel on paper. Each drawing, which contains a single scene, is successively altered through erasing and redrawing and photographed in 16 or 35mm film at each stage of its evolution. Remnants of successive stages remain on the paper, and provide a metaphor for the layering of memory which is one of Kentridge’s principal themes. The films in this series, titled Drawings for Projection (see Tate T07482-5 and T07480-81), are set in the devastated landscape south of Johannesburg where derelict mines and factories, mine dumps and slime dams have created a terrain of nostalgia and loss. Kentridge’s repeated erasure and redrawing, which leave marks without completely transforming the image, together with the jerky movement of the animation, operate in parallel with his depiction of human processes, both physical and political, enacted on the landscape.

Felix in Exile is Kentridge’s fifth film. It was made from forty drawings and is accompanied by music by Phillip Miller and Motsumi Makhene. It introduces a new character to the series: Nandi, an African woman, who appears at the beginning of the film making drawings of the landscape. She observes the land with surveyor’s instruments, watching African bodies, with bleeding wounds, which melt into the landscape. She is recording the evidence of violence and massacre that is part of South Africa’s recent history. Felix Teitelbaum, who features in Kentridge’s first and fourth films as the humane and loving alter-ego to the ruthless capitalist white South African psyche, appears here semi-naked and alone in a foreign hotel room, brooding over Nandi’s drawings of the damaged African landscape, which cover his suitcase and walls. Felix looks at himself in the mirror while shaving and Nandi appears to him. They are connected to one another, through the mirror, by a double-ended telescope and embrace, but Nandi is later shot and absorbed back into the ground like the bodies she was observing earlier. A flood of blue water in the hotel room, brought about by the process of painful remembering, symbolises tears of grief and loss and the Biblical flood which promises new life. Kentridge has commented: ‘Felix in Exile was made at the time just before the first general election in South Africa, and questioned the way in which the people who had died on the journey to this new dispensation would be remembered’ (William Kentridge 1998, p.90). In this film Nandi’s drawing could be read as an attempt to construct a new national identity through the preservation, rather than erasure, of brutal and racist colonial memory.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kentridge-felix-in-exile-t07479

Episode #100: With his video “History of the Main Complaint” (1996) serving as a backdrop, William Kentridge discusses how artists draw upon tragedy as subject matter for their work and how drawing itself can be a compassionate act.

Having witnessed first-hand one of the twentieth centurys most contentious struggles—the dissolution of apartheid—William Kentridge brings the ambiguity and subtlety of personal experience to public subjects most often framed in narrowly defined terms. Using film, drawing, sculpture, animation, and performance, he transmutes sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories. Aware of myriad ways in which we construct the world by looking, Kentridge often uses optical illusions to extend his drawings-in-time into three dimensions.

Learn more about William Kentridge at: http://www.art21.org/artists/william-kentridge

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: William Kentridge.


Episode #094: Shot in his Johannesburg studio in South Africa, William Kentridge reveals the process and unusual presentation of the video work “Return” — a component of the larger project “(REPEAT) from the beginning / Da Capo” (2008) — which had its debut on the fire screen of Teatro La Fenice opera house in Venice, Italy.

Life In A Day

What happens when you send a request out to the world to chronicle, via video, a single day on Earth? You get 80,000 submissions and 4,500 hours of footage from 192 countries. Producer Ridley Scott and Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald took this raw material — all shot on July 24, 2010 — and created Life in a Day, a groundbreaking, feature-length documentary that portrays this kaleidoscope of images we call life. National Geographic is bringing it to theaters starting July 24, 2011. Prepare to be amazed.

Mark Bradford

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Mark Bradford was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1961. He received a BFA (1995) and MFA (1997) from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Bradford transforms materials scavenged from the street into wall-size collages and installations that respond to the impromptu networks—underground economies, migrant communities, or popular appropriation of abandoned public space—that emerge within a city. Drawing from the diverse cultural and geographic makeup of his southern Californian community, Bradford’s work is as informed by his personal background as a third-generation merchant there as it is by the tradition of abstract painting developed worldwide in the twentieth century. Bradford’s videos and map-like, multilayered paper collages refer not only to the organization of streets and buildings in downtown Los Angeles, but also to images of crowds, ranging from civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s to contemporary protests concerning immigration issues. Mark Bradford has received many awards, including the Bucksbaum Award (2006); the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2003); and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2002). He has been included in major exhibitions at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2006); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2003); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2004); and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2001). He has participated in the twenty-seventh Bienal de São Paulo (2006); the Whitney Biennial (2006); and “inSite: Art Practices in the Public Domain,” San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico (2005). Bradford lives and works in Los Angeles.

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http://www.pbs.org

Janine Antoni

Janine Antoni was born in Freeport, Bahamas. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989.

Her work shows nationally and internationally. Antoni has exhibited at numerous major institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Magazsin 3 Handelshögskolan, Stockholm; Haywood Gallery, London, Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany. She has also been represented in several international biennials such as the Whitney Biennial; Venice Bienialle; Johannesburg Biennial; Kwangju Biennial, South Korea; Istanbul Biennial; S.I.T.E. Santa Fe Biennial: Project 1 Biennial, New Orleans; and Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India.


Momme, 1995. C-Print, edition of 6

Antoni is the recipient of several prestigious awards including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, the New Media Award, ICA Boston in 1999, the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 1999, an Artes Mundi, Wales International Visual Art Prize nomination in 2004, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2011, a 2012 Creative Capital Artist Grant, Anonymous Was A Woman Grant in 2014, and A Project Grant from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage to collaborate with choreographers Anna Halprin and Stephen Petronio at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia for a 2016 exhibition. She currently resides in New York City.

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Lick & Lather, 1993
Two busts: one chocolate and one soap
From an edition of 7 with 1 artist’s proof + 1 full set of 14 busts, 7 of each material
24 x 16 x 13 inches (60.96 x 40.64 x 33.02 cm)

Selected public collections include MoMA, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany; The New Museum, New York, NY; Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Norway; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA.

Monographs and publications of Antoni’s work include MOOR published by Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall and SITE Santa Fe; The Girl Made of Butter published by The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut; and JANINE ANTONI published by Ink Tree Edition, Küsnacht, Switzerland.

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Umbilical, 2000
Sterling silver cast of family silverware and negative
impression of artist’s mouth and mother’s hand
Edition of 35 and 6 Artist’s Proofs
3 x 8 x 3 inches (7.62 x 20.32 x 7.62 cm)

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Moor, 2001
Installation, mixed media
Variable dimensions

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Moor, 2001
Installation materials used in this section of the rope are:
Dad’s coconut husks, Joe’s blue pants, Rosary beads found
with Doug, Doug’s grandmother’s dish towel, Elizabeth’s
grandmother’s blue and white striped apron, Mom’s fall and
hairnet, Grandmother Gugu’s slip, Red velour Christmas
dress worn by Granny Miana
Currently 326.9 feet (99.63 meters)

http://www.luhringaugustine.com

Eric Pickersgill

Self portrait of the artist Eric Pickersgill and his wife Angie as they lay back to back while using thier non existant phones. The black and white portrait shows the young couple ignoring each other in bed.

The joining of people to devices has been rapid and unalterable. The application of the personal device in daily life has made tasks take less time. Far away places and people feel closer than ever before. Despite the obvious benefits that these advances in technology have contributed to society, the social and physical implications are slowly revealing themselves. In similar ways that photography transformed the lived experience into the photographable, performable, and reproducible experience, personal devices are shifting behaviors while simultaneously blending into the landscape by taking form as being one with the body. This phantom limb is used as a way of signaling busyness and unapproachability to strangers while existing as an addictive force that promotes the splitting of attention between those who are physically with you and those who are not.

The work began as I sat in a café’ one morning. This is what I wrote about my observation:

Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and I doubt we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now.

The image of that family, the mother’s face, the teenage girls’ and their father’s posture and focus on the palm of their own hands has been burned in my mind. It was one of those moments where you see something so amazingly common that it startles you into consciousness of what’s actually happening and it is impossible to forget. I see this family at the grocery store, in classrooms, on the side of the highway and in my own bed as I fall asleep next to my wife. We rest back to back on our sides coddling our small, cold, illuminated devices every night.

The large format portraits are of individuals who appear to be holding personal devices although the devices have been physically removed from the sitter’s hand. They are asked to hold their stare and posture as I remove their device and then I make the exposure. The photographs represent reenactments of scenes that I experience daily. We have learned to read the expression of the body while someone is consuming a device and when those signifiers are activated it is as if the device can be seen taking physical form without the object being present.

http://www.ericpickersgill.com

Sylwia Kowalczyk

Lethe is the river that cleanses Dante in Purgatory, the one that wipes memories of the dead as they drink from it or bathe in it. The poet Sylvia Plath steps up from ‘the black car of Lethe, Pure as a baby’. It is an escape, a relief from our own physical limitations. ‘The soul that has been rash enough to drink from the fount of Lethe… is reincarnated and again cast into the cycle of becoming’, according to Mircea Eliade.

As important recollections slip from our memory, this loss brings its own kind of grief. The past becomes a vast, blank territory where even the most important memories from childhood are erased – if we do not remember them, perhaps these might as well not have happened in the first place.

‘Lethe’ wins in PDN Photo Annual 2016 ‘Personal’ category and is now shortlisted for The Renaissance Photography Prize with the accompanying exhibition at Getty Images Gallery, just off Oxford Street in Central London from 7th September 2016.

http://www.sylwiakowalczyk.com