Kentridge, William (1955 – )
William Kentridge was born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kentridge grew up in a family of prominent
South African attorneys. His father Sydney is among the most renowned lawyers in the country; particularly
engaged in defending victims of abuse during apartheid, he led the inquest into Steve Biko’s death in 1977.
Kentridge earned a B.A. in politics and African studies in 1976 from the University of the Witwatersrand in
Johannesburg. From 1976 – 1978 he studied fine art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation, where he later taught
printmaking. In 1979, Kentridge had his first solo exhibition at the Market Gallery in Johannesburg. He continued
to exhibit his drawings and prints throughout the 1980’s
In the mid 70’s Kentridge became active in film and theatre, working as a writer, director, actor and set designer.
During 1981 – 1982 he completed a course in theatre in Paris.
William Kentridge is perhaps now best known for his films, theatre and opera. When you walk into any of the
well known museums and institutions all over the world, one will quickly recognize that the work of Kentridge
is present in the space, through the light and shadows, the sounds spilling from gallery to gallery. The prints of
William Kentridge are another form of his art. They are varied and as complex as his films. In much the same way
the artist himself uses printmaking in the process of developing his thoughts, an effort is required by the viewer,
who must be an active participant in constructing the past and imagining the future.
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