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Distinctive Kentridge Drawing

  6 September 2012     Archived

William Kentridge is one of South Africas most globally renowned artists but unique works such as this seldom come up at auction. Its bold colour, its powerful form and its substantial size give this early mixed media work its great impact. Within the drawn contours of a supine head, a map of Africa in a coral colour appears to be riven with golden seams where the paper has been carefully torn.


Produced in 1992, against the build up to democratic transition in South Africa, this horizontally inclined head suggests a dreaming figure infused with hope. Nevertheless the artist has allowed sufficient ambiguity for the simultaneous signaling of its converse, invoking one of his most often-quoted statements which develops concerns articulated
in 1986.¹

I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain endings – an art (and a politics) in which optimism is kept in check, and nihilism at bay.
The supine head echoes those in Casspirs Full of Love (1989) and prefigures the imaging of Nandi in the film Felix in Exile (1994) and of Eckstein in films such as History of the Main Complaint (1996) and WEIGHING … and WANTING (1998). These heads express an astonishing range of associations and emotions from violence and suffering through dreaming and aspiration to disorder and duress. However, what makes this distinctive is Kentridge’s use of colour, the delicate coral appearing to float above a vivid ground, ablaze with a saturated blue gouache.

Important South African & International Art, Furniture, Silver, Ceramics, Glass & Jewellery
including the Vivienne Linder Collection

Monday 8 October 2012
The Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town
Preview: Friday 5 to Sunday 7 October from 10am to 5pm
Enquiries: 021 683 6560/ 078 044 8185

William Kentridge
Untitled (Head)
Signed and dated 92
R400 000 – 600 000

¹ See William Kentridge, ‘Art in a State of Grace, Art in a State of Hope, Art in a State of Siege’ in Carolyn Christov- Bakargiev,
William Kentridge, Société des Expositions du Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, 1998, page 56.

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