Film Works by South African Artist William Kentridge Featured in Galler Exhibition at Wexner Center

Mon, Mar 13, 2006

“People tend never to forget where and when they first encountered the art of South African William Kentridge, such is its power.”—San Francisco Chronicle

The gallery exhibition William Kentridge: 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès, onview at the Wexner Center April 7–August 13, 2006, features the witty and whimsical film works of internationally acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge. These lyrical short works, a tribute to the pioneering French filmauteur and special-effects trailblazer Georges Méliès, marry traditional art forms (painting and sketching) with newer forms (video). Two additional short films, Day for Night and Journey to the Moon, will also be included in the exhibition.

Notes Bill Horrigan, the Wexner Center’s Director of Media Arts, “This exhibition affords a rare opportunity to see the film works of

William Kentridge in a gallery setting, and in particular is suitable for the multidisciplinary Wexner Center. These works are remarkable examples of his fascination with not only early cinema, but his ability to merge such varied forms as painting, sketching, film, and collage into a singular artistic vision.” The black-and-white films, all made in 2003, will be shown simultaneously in the Wexner Center’s Gallery D, running on a continuous loop. Kentridge himself appears in most of the films, and wittily incorporates ordinary objects from everyday life: coffee cups, ladders, ants, and more—items that often wind up in improbable situations. In the charming 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès , a suite of seven silent short projections combining live-action and animation, he can be seen interacting with his paintings and sketches by drawing and erasing them, creating amusing and surprising effects using stop-motion, multiple exposures, and other early filmic techniques. In Day for Night, also silent, an off-screen Kentridge directs ants across a canvas by using trails of sugar and honey. Kentridge utilizes the titular light filtering technique in which day appears to be night, so that the ants appear to be white while the canvas appears to be black; the result is imagery resembling an ever-changing starfield. Journey to the Moon—a riff on the 1902 Méliès masterpiece Voyage to the Moon—is a more narrative work that finds Kentridge further exploring the techniques of early cinema as well as makingreference to themes and images from 7 Fragments. It includes an original score.


• An opening celebration for William Kentridge and the other spring exhibitions will be held Thursday, April 6 from 5 to 8 pm. Wexner

Center Director Sherri Geldin will give opening remarks at 5:30 pm at the entrance to the galleries. The event is free and open to the public.

• Arthur Danto—philosopher, author, and art critic for The Nation—will discuss Kentridge’s work at the annual Lambert Family Lecture

Tuesday, April 25 at 7 pm in the Film/Video Theater. Admission is free.

• A collection of Kentridge’s evocative short animated films, William Kentridge: 7 Films (1994–2003), will be screened in the Film/Video

Theater on Wednesday, May 3 at 7 pm. Some of the films feature Kentridge’s fictional Johannesburg characters Soho Eckstein and his

romantic rival, Felix Teitelbaum, through whom Kentridge provides a poetic commentary on post-apartheid South Africa.


Born in Johannesburg in 1955 (where he continues to live), William Kentridge is South Africa’s premier visual artist. Known for his short films, video installations, collages, prints, and charcoal drawings, his work is derived from a variety of sources

including film, theater, painting, and more. Infused by the turbulent past of South Africa, his films and paintings carry with them a profound sense of memory and history reflected in both their form and content. His work has been on view at Documenta X in Kassel, Germany; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and in the Venice Biennale. In 1999 Kentridge received the Carnegie Medal at the Carnegie

International, and since January 2004 a major retrospective survey of his work has been on tour, stopping in Sydney, Australia; Johannesburg; and at Miami Art Central, the tour’s final venue. Recent exhibitions have included 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; a newly commissioned piece for the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Black Box/Chambre Noire; and drawings and projections from the scenic design and animation for a production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (which premiered in Brussels last year), at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York.



William Kentridge was organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts.

The exhibition is presented with support from the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members.

Preferred accommodations are provided by The Blackwell Inn.

The preferred airline for this exhibition is American Airlines/American Eagle.


THE EXHIBITION: William Kentridge: 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès is a showcase of whimsical and witty short black-and-white films in a gallery setting by acclaimed South African artist and animator William Kentridge.

DATES: April 7–August 13, 2006 (opening party April 6, 5–8 pm). Also on view: Extreme Textiles and Diptych: Jockum Nordström and Mindy Shapero. 

LOCATION: Wexner Center for the Arts (Gallery D), 1871 North High Street at 15th Avenue at The Ohio State University.

GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday–Wednesday and Sunday 11 am–6 pm; Thursday– Saturday 11 am–8 pm. The galleries are closed on Monday.


PARKING: Available in the Ohio Union Parking Garage, just south of the Wexner Center on High Street.

WALK-IN TOURS: Sundays at 1 pm and Thursdays at 6 pm

GROUP TOURS: Available by calling 614 292-6493.

PUBLIC INFORMATION: or 614 292-3535.

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