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William Kentridge makes The 2009 TIME 100

William Kentridge

LOU REED – Thursday, Apr. 30, 2009
Julien Jourdes / The New York Times / Redux

 

I have often wondered: If a picture is worth a thousand words, what isthe price of a song? What could an essay be that is about the multiple emotions, feelings, moods and starlight of the startlingly original drawings by the South African artist William Kentridge, 54? These lives erupting through the line and the page with their features telling thousands of mutating stories. Kentridge has stated that he came to terms with the fact (often so hard to accept) that the images — states of mind — of these interior reflections are personal to the artist, who must accept that he is putting the deepest part of his soul and mind in his work and then showing it to the world. This is something that makes interviews and journalistic adventures a misery, as the conversation will always turn to the question “Why are you showing us this?” It does not seem enough to answer: I do this to reveal beauty and humanity in all its guises. We are one and similar in all respects. We look at Kentridge’s Preparing the Flute (an installation tied to his staging of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute) and see charcoal, pastel and colored pencil with a model theater and animation — all tools brought to bear. And still I sit in awe of his study of the artist space Artist and Model from the series Pit. The drawings of his film Stereoscope. The ability to express that for which there may be no word. An original expression of the most inexpressible. Kentridge has made a home for emotions in his private expression, through line and form, of that which we cannot say. Reed is a writer, musician and photographer in New York City. – Read more: