World famous South African artist William Kentridge spoke at UCT’s Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA)’s Great Text / Big Questions public lecture on Thursday 8 April. He gave a lecture titled ‘Putting the ‘S’ into Laughter’, looking at Gogol’s short story The Nose. His recent production of Shostakovich’s opera The Nose premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York earlier this month to rave reviews.
Kentridge began working on the opera three years earlier, producing etchings, drawings, small bronzes, tapestries, films and a theatrical monologue in which he performed. In GIPCA’s Great Texts / Big Questions lecture Kentridge will revisit his exploration of Gogol’s story (written in 1836) and Shostakovich’s music (first performed in Leningrad in 1930 before being suppressed and not seen again until 1974).
In 2009 Kentridge was listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 people that most affect the world. He has earned international acclaim for his interdisciplinary work, which combines visual art, theatre and film. He uses different mediums to explore oppression, colonialism, conflict and reconciliation, addressing the social, political and cultural landscape.
Kentridge’s work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries around the world. He has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA) in New York several times. MoMA is currently presenting ‘William Kentridge: Five Themes’, a comprehensive survey of his distinguished career, featuring over 120 works created during the past three decades in a range of mediums – animated film, drawings, print, books and theatre models.
The Nose is not Kentridge’s first foray into opera; his production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) premiered in Brussels in 2005 and its global tour included New York, Naples and Johannesburg.
Dr Rob Baum, director of UCT’s Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) said they are honoured to be hosting so distinguished a speaker, “Part of what GIPCA intends to achieve in South Africa is to highlight interdisciplinary art and make it accessible to a broader audience. To host an artist of Kentridge’s stature, an artist who has raised the profile of interdisciplinary work to such a level, with so global an effect, and with such joyous imagination, is a great privilege.”
Monument to Major Kovalyov nose image released in the public domain.
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