Past

William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time

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“A great artist working at the peak of his powers”—Boston Globe

Experience the fusion of art, science, and history, and explore thought-provoking ideas about time in this spectacularly immersive installation by acclaimed artist William Kentridge. Combining projections of his evocative, often-humorous hand-drawn animations and live-action sequences with music and sculpture, The Refusal of Time is as visually stunning as it is mind-opening.

The project evolved from Kentridge’s conversations with Harvard professor Peter Galison about revolutions in the conception of time around the dawn of the 20th century—from Albert Einstein’s radical theory of relativity to new attempts to standardize time, a means of asserting control and fortifying colonization. The latter is an ongoing theme for Kentridge, who lives and works in South Africa.

For The Refusal of Time, Kentridge transforms the space of a gallery into a vibrant theater of activity where you’ll move among screens, dispersed crates and chairs, large megaphones, and at the center, a mysteriously imposing wooden device. Appearing to breathe, the machine seems to power the images and sounds that fill your senses.

Hypnotic, mesmerizing, and rich in its ambiguity, the work is a poetic investigation into humanity’s journey through time as an act of resistance and rebellion—against imposed worldviews as well as our own mortality. As Kentridge said of the work, it’s a search for “moments of coherence, of understanding and changing the world, which is the most we can hope for.”

immersive installation by acclaimed artist William Kentridge

William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012. Made in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, and Peter Galison. Five-channel video, black-and-white and color, sound, 30 mins.; steel megaphones; and breathing machine “elephant.” Dimensions variable. © 2012 William Kentridge. All rights reserved. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY.

Patrons sitting in the immersive installation by William Kentridge at the Wex

William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012. Made in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, and Peter Galison. Five-channel video, black-and-white and color, sound, 30 mins.; steel megaphones; and breathing machine “elephant.” Dimensions variable. © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved.

Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, photo: Katie Spengler.

Patrons sitting in the immersive installation by William Kentridge at the Wex

William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012. Made in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, and Peter Galison. Five-channel video, black-and-white and color, sound, 30 mins.; steel megaphones; and breathing machine “elephant.” Dimensions variable. © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved.

Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, photo: Katie Spengler.

Detail of video installation showing stargazers

William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012. Made in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, and Peter Galison. Five-channel video, black-and-white and color, sound, 30 mins.; steel megaphones; and breathing machine “elephant.” Dimensions variable. © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved.

Film still: image courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, Lia Rumma Gallery, and Goodman Gallery.

Detail of video installation showing a black woman dancing

William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012. Made in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, and Peter Galison. Five-channel video, black-and-white and color, sound, 30 mins.; steel megaphones; and breathing machine “elephant.” Dimensions variable. © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved.

Film still: image courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, Lia Rumma Gallery, and Goodman Gallery.

Detail of video installation showing Kentridge changing hats on four versions of himself

William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012. Made in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, and Peter Galison. Five-channel video, black-and-white and color, sound, 30 mins.; steel megaphones; and breathing machine “elephant.” Dimensions variable. © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved.

Film still: image courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, Lia Rumma Gallery, and Goodman Gallery.

immersive installation by acclaimed artist William Kentridge

William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012. Made in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, and Peter Galison. Five-channel video, black-and-white and color, sound, 30 mins.; steel megaphones; and breathing machine “elephant.” Dimensions variable. © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved.

Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

SUPPORT FOR FREE AND LOW-COST PROGRAMS AT THE WEXNER CENTER

Huntington Bank

Cardinal Health Foundation

 

GENERAL OPERATING SUPPORT FOR THE WEXNER CENTER

Greater Columbus Arts Council

Ohio Arts Council

Columbus Foundation

Nationwide Foundation

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Past Exhibitions

William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time