This post is an excerpt from Art21’s FLASH POINTS Blog – if your not already a reader of the Art21 Blog, I highly Recommend it!
Using variable media – taking the form of tapestry and sculpture to performance, cinema, and stereoscopic imagery— William Kentridge calculates a not so obvious curve to create socially informed work that challenges the way we look.
In early October, the Henry Art Gallery participated in a preview screening of Art21’s William Kentridge: Anything is Possible. To celebrate the upcoming release, the Henry invited local animator Tess Martin to teach an all-ages animation workshop, inspired by Kentridge’s work. The workshop allowed participants to explore the creative process behind a modified base, a technique used by the artist in his many animated films. Following a brief introduction to the history of stop-motion, from flip books to Victorian parlor toys to Muybridge, workshop participants were asked to experiment with three mediums – charcoal/pastels, paint, and grain – to create a collaborative film.
Participants, mostly twenty-something adults, came from a variety of backgrounds including drawing, film, video, and digital animation. Pens and notebooks in hand, each brought with them a sense of eagerness and a variety of questions about the animation process. While many focused on the practicality of production, there were some participants who seemed more interested in the process of animation and what it means to animate an idea. This led to a later conversation around Kentridge’s use of animation, and his practice as a whole, as a tool for exposing the viewer to the act of seeing. Taking a cue from the film, one participant pointed out how Kentridge used found materials and familiar objects to create fantastical situations in which the viewer is made aware that they are looking, that they have control of what they see and how they interpret it. This realization brought up an interesting correlation between this awareness of seeing and the socio-cultural context of much of Kentridge’s work.