William Kentridge (South African, born Johannesburg, 1955)
Torn construction paper, tape, chalk, and pins on printed Atlas page, mounted to foam core board
14 3/4 x 20 3/8 in. (37.5 x 51.8 cm)
Purchase, Bequest of Alexander M. Bing, by exchange, 2001
Not on view
Kentridge, the son of a prominent anti-Apartheid attorney, is known for his multi-media films and theater sets that make use of hand-drawn, stop-motion animation. A collaborator since the early 1990s in the Handspring Puppet Company, Kentridge often uses silhouetted puppets—two torn-paper examples of which hang here—that become characters in evocative shadow plays of memory and loss. His allegorical works reference the painful history of Africa’s colonization or his own complicity in it as a white in a racist culture. Here, the paper puppets are collaged on top of pages from an 1838 atlas—a time of political upheaval in Europe as well as the first year of the Great Trek, the migration of Boers northeast from British-controlled Cape Town.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "William Kentridge," October 12, 2004–February 2, 2005, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Trails: Selected Works from the Collection, 1934–2001," July 19–November 27, 2011, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In Praise of Shadows: William Kentridge in the Collection," August 26, 2013–February 2, 1014, no catalogue.