William Kentridge: Peripheral Thinking

William Kentridge: Peripheral Thinking

Inside and outside, about the one standing on the periphery

The exhibition William Kentridge: Peripheral Thinking has been at MMCA Seoul since December 1st. This is the largest solo exhibition that MMCA Seoul has ever had and it is indeed grand. All of the 108 art pieces by William Kentridge, including his charcoal drawings, animations and video installations, are significant. William Kentridge grew up in Johannesburg, where Apartheid was enforced during the 20th century, as a son of a human rights lawyer. His childhood became the source of his inspirations as he observed the social system that he experienced during the earlier days of his life as an irresistible absurdity. After going through different fields of art such as painting, theater and film, he settled down in charcoal drawing. He did so because charcoal drawing can follow the speed of thoughts and because it represents the uncertainty and apprehension of our lives. He became a world-renowned artist through an animation work in which he drew objects under a heavy political theme, erased them and repeatedly redrew them. His work captured the minds of audiences, filling them with both sadness and happiness by confronting political and social issues in a poetic way. Another feature of this exhibition is that one can get a good look at the diverse aspects of his works through which he deals with a broad spectrum of subjects that go beyond the definition of human rights. And on that note, one should not miss out on his work "The Refusal of Time," which was done for dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012. This five-channel image piece was staged in a dark space that looks like a messy construction site and it shows how humans try to escape from the system of Greenwich Mean Time, which has confined people ever since the Industrial Revolution. The rough movements of a wooden machine called “Elephant” and the music that magically touches the pulse of one’s soul fills up the 15 minutes of the piece. The way the exhibition itself has been designed is spot on here in Seoul as well. It deals with heavy themes and yet one can still feel a sense of intrigue thanks to the way these works of art are displayed. You’ll need almost three hours to go through the whole exhibition. However, since the art is not arranged in chronological order visiting here several times might be the best way to enjoy it to the fullest. UCCA Beijing, which is one of the co-hosts of the exhibition, held the same exhibition last year and it was voted as the best one of the year there. The William Kentridge solo exhibition goes on until March 27th. –Jeon Jong-hyun (Design journalist)


By: Hwang Hye Young


Event phone: 02-3701-9500
Event website: http://mmca.go.kr
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