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More Sweetly Play the Dance William Kentridge


William Kentridge Johannesburg, 1955 –

Date 2015
Object type installation

variable size

Inventory number 2017.1.1-5.U
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

The South African William Kentridge is one of the bestknown contemporary artists: his animated films, installations and drawings touch upon sensitive social and politi cal issues and traumas in a unique artistic language. More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015) is a monumental work that can be seen as a summary of Kentridge’s several earlier works. The video installation portrays an endless line of human silhouettes in a barren landscape. The shadow figures dancing to the hypnotic music recall the sequences of motifs in classical bas-reliefs, the iconography of woodcuts depicting triumphal processions, and the traditions of the danse macabre, yet they also provide a new context for that most ancient trope in the history of painting and philoso phy, the cast shadow, which dates back to Plato and Pliny the Elder. The title of the work is taken from a line in Paul Celan’s Fugue of Death, which adds a layer of deeply melancholic meaning, alluding to the destruction, ostracism, constant migration, and existential anguish that are expe rienced again and again, albeit differently, by every passing generation.

Dávid Fehér

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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