Evening Sale

Live Virtual Auction, 28 May 2024

Evening Sale
  • William Kentridge; Preparing the Flute
  • William Kentridge; Preparing the Flute
  • William Kentridge; Preparing the Flute


Lot Estimate
ZAR 3 500 000 - 4 000 000
Location
Johannesburg
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The item was unsold and may still be available

About this Item

South African 1955-
Preparing the Flute

signed

charcoal and chalk on paper
122 by 160cm excluding frame; 137 by 176 by 4,5cm including frame

Notes

In 2005, William Kentridge premiered his commissioned production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at the Royal Theatre of La Monnaie, an opera house in Brussels. As part of his planning for this large-scale production Kentridge created a miniature theatre in his studio to develop his set design and work out the relationship between the live actors and projected stop-animation films. Kentridge’s directorial aid was subsequently exhibited at the Goodman Gallery. The exhibition also included working drawings and fragments used in creating animations for the opera. This drawing, which derives from that exhibition, presents a series of preliminary studies for the intricately layered physical proscenium that Kentridge used to surround the central stage space.

The drawings rhythmically repeat motifs (stage curtains, tropical palms) in a dominant chromatic hue of charcoal black. The sober tone is consistent with Kentridge’s contemporary reading of Mozart’s opera. ‘Mozart wrote Die Zauberflöte in 1791, when an optimism and clear belief in the Enlightenment were possible,’ Kentridge told an audience at Harvard University in 2012. ‘Such an optimism is no longer available. Not just the individual monsters of history but the calamitous history of colonialism, the primary political manifestation of the Enlightenment, are both object lessons we cannot ignore.’1 Kentridge’s use of charcoal as a thinking tool for manifesting these thoughts in his stage design points to the remarkable utility of charcoal in Kentridge’s creative universe.

1 William Kentridge (2014) Six Drawing Lessons, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press. Page 48.

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