William Kentridge

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1955, William Kentridge is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, theatre and opera productions. His method combines drawing, writing, film, performance, music, theatre and collaborative practices to create works of art that are grounded in politics, science, literature and history, yet maintaining a space for contradiction and uncertainty.

Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Albertina Museum in Vienna, Musée du Louvre in Paris, Whitechapel Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts in London, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Kunstmuseum in Basel, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa and Norval Foundation in Cape Town. He has participated numerous times in Documenta in Kassel (2012, 2002 & 1997) and the Venice Biennale (2015, 2013, 2005, 1999 & 1993).

Kentridge’s opera productions including Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Shostakovich’s The Nose and Alban Berg’s Lulu and Wozzeck have been seen at opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala in Milan, English National Opera, Opéra National de Lyon, Dutch National Opera, Sydney Opera House and at the Salzburg Festival. His theatrical productions, performed in theatres and at festivals across the globe, include Refuse the Hour, Winterreise, Paper Music, The Head & the Load, Ursonate and Waiting for the Sibyl in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company, Ubu and the Truth Commission, Faustus in Africa!, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse and Woyzeck on the Highveld.

In 2016, Kentridge founded the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg – a space for responsive thinking and making through experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts practices. The Centre hosts an ongoing programme of workshops, public performances and mentorship activities.

Kentridge is the recipient of honorary doctorates from several universities including Yale University, University of London and Columbia University. In 2010, he received the Kyoto Prize. In 2012, he was awarded the Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, and he presented the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University. In 2015, he was appointed an Honorary Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. In 2017, he received the Princesa de Asturias Award for the arts, and in 2018, the Antonio Feltrinelli International Prize. In 2019, he received the Praemium Imperiale award in painting in Tokyo. In 2021, he was made a Foreign Associate Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 2022, he was presented the Order of the Star of Italy, and in 2023 in London, he received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for Sibyl.

Kentridge’s work can be found in the collections of Art Gallery of Western Australia (Perth), Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Museum of Art (New York), San Diego Museum of Art, Fondation Cartier, Centre Pompidou, Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Broad Art Foundation (Los Angeles), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Sharjah Art Foundation, Mudam (Luxembourg), Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Castello di Rivoli (Turin), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Johannesburg Art Gallery, MAXXI (Rome), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebaek, Denmark), National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto), Israel Museum (Jerusalem), Inhotim (Brumadinho, Brazil), National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Tate Modern (London), Sifang Art Museum (Nanjing), Kunsthalle Mannheim, Vehbi Koç Foundation (Istanbul), LUMA Arles, Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest), Fundació Sorigué (Lleida, Spain), Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Kunsthalle Praha (Prague) and Amorepacific Museum of Art (Seoul); as well as private collections worldwide.

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©Norbert Miguletz