William Kentridge

South African artist William Kentridge has forged a unique practice, one that is rooted in avant-garde theater and traditional forms of Left cultural critique even as it responds to contemporary video and the international art world. Translating his distinctive charcoal drawings into hand-made animated films that show signs of erasure and reworking, Kentridge crafts allegorical, gestural narratives that may be read as specific to the political and social realities of South Africa, at the same time that they function as powerful observations of the human condition.

William Kentridge was born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He earned a B.A. in politics and African studies in 1976 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, studied fine art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation from 1976-78, and later studied mime and theatre at L'Ecole Jacques LeCoq in Paris. His films have been awarded the Sharjah Biennial 6 Prize, United Arab Emirates; the Carnegie Prize; the Blue Ribbon Award, American Film Festival, Los Angeles; and the Kaiserring Prize, Moenchehaus-Museum fuer Moderne Kunst, Goslar, Germany, among others. He has had solo exhibitions and film retrospectives at the Baltic Art Center, Visby, Sweden; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, and Serpentine Gallery, London. His works have been shown in group exhibitions at Whitechapel, London; Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany; Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada; P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; New Shanghai Art Museum, and Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, among others. Kentridge has also directed and designed performances and theatrical plays that have been presented in festivals and theaters around the world.

William Kentridge lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.