Saturday, July 25, 2009

'I am not a horse, the horse is not mine'!

Got to love the title! That is the name of William Kentridge's installation on Cockatoo Island which was originally installed as part of the 16th Biennale of Sydney in 2008... and let me tell you... it has to be one of the best pieces of artwork that I have seen in a long long time!!! It was breath taking and so completely unexpected!

As I walked off the ferry I gravitated toward the old disused industrial buildings where NAS and UTS student were playing and installing artwork. The old buildings instantly held my attention as I snapped away and laughed to myself at how inspiring they were...until I reached a sign and an arrow ushering me up a set of rickety stair and into a darkened room where a cacophony of sounds were blaring out... A mix of African beats + chants, trumpets and carnival playground sounds which is interesting in itself... until you start to look around at the 5 screens that make up the projected piece by Kentridge.

'I am not a horse, the horse is not mine' continues Kentridges' investigation of the roots and trajectory of modernism, drawing on instances of censorship and brutal artistic repression from the Stalinist era of Russian history.

Based on the absurdist short story, The Nose (1837), by Nikolai Gogol, the installation is a mixture of self-reflective fragments, absurd cut-outs, instrumental and vocal soundscapes and projections of animation that Kentridge is known for. With all 5 screens playing at the same- the piece creates an all encompassing world within this one darkened room with which you are thrust into...

I was absolutely mesmerised as I sat and watch each screen as it flashed images, symbols + words in a kind of cut and paste manner that reminded me of Kurt Schwitters ....

and Kassimir Malevich... which are two artists from the 30s era with which Kentridge is referencing...

I know this is difficult to explain and understand - and believe me the images do no justice to the piece either!! In the end it is hard to transcribe this work for websites and just have to try and see it in the flesh!!

I thought nothing could top the exhibition of Kentridges' work at the MCA in 2004 ... but this will be hard to top.... especially since it feels to me that Kentridge is taking digital + video work to a whole new and exciting level!

A beautiful collision of location and art .... Well well worth seeing!!

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