William Kentridge Speaks in STL

William Kentridge Delivers a Stellar Lecture at Washington University

After about 15 minutes of boring academic introduction, Washington University finally awarded Kentridge the Deans Metal for his outstanding achievements. It was some trip and privilege to see this international art superstar in person. He gave a wonderful talk about some of his current concepts. I will give you some of my rough notes and highlights as to what the talk was about. If you want a full explanation I will include a link below. 

He talked about his interest in the time period before Einstein’s theory of relativity(pre-1905). He is interested in how people measured their reality against actual physical objects. He spoke of how light behaves in the universe, and how space is an ever-expanding set of information.  He describes space as a “universal archive”  with images blasting out in all different directions. There was mention of how we as a human race thrive on instability. He mentions how as an artist he must have several different tasks going on to shatter his illusion of creating this “perfect object.” A metaphor is given about a panther that paces around the empty center of his cage. The panther, like the artist, must circle this unknown center. The goal is not to completely get it, but rather to always question and investigate this unknown place. It was refreshing to hear such a practical and hybrid artist speak so in-depth about philosophy.

Kentridge is a multi-faceted artist who works in theater/stage design, drawing/animation and sculpture to name a few. His personal view is that the artist needs one task to help generate ideas and prop-up their other endeavors. Kentridge goes on to state that artist are radically other-sufficient. In other words we are constantly relying on an audience. He speaks of personality dualities and gives examples of how we can be divided into different selves. Finally William goes on to speak about how amazing our human minds are at filling in the blanks. We are perpetually trying to rationalize or make sense of the world even if it means filling in a large unknown blank. Kentridge uses the phrase “projective generosity” to describe this phenomenon. Thanks again to Wash U for putting this on. And of course…thank you for reading my little blog! Cheers!



About samdavisstudios

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