William Kentridge (April 28, 1955) is deeply rooted in his native South Africa. A recent show (2012) in London displays certain characteristic themes. We read:
The Art Newspaper: The Whitechapel show is entitled Thick Time and it includes the installation The Refusal of Time (2012), a 30-minute, five-channel multimedia exploration of theories and notions of time. Why the decision to foreground this theme?
William Kentridge: Its really about the expansion and contraction of time in the studio. The world comes into the studio, it then gets taken apart and worked on, and then gets sent back out into the world. So one of the things that happens with time is that it gets expanded and stretched. If ones doing an animation, in the most literal way a gesture that may take two seconds to draw may take two days to animate, and so the normal flow and invisible sense of time gets broken down and turned into numbered systems and the frames of a reel of film. So theres a lot about the different ways of materialising that kind of transformation [of time] from its invisible evanescence through which we move, into something material, whether its a roll of film or charcoal erasures on a sheet of paper.
The absurd is a very important category. As opposed to the funny or the stupid or the humorous, the absurd points to some break in the central part of logic. Then with this broken logic we continue as if the logic had not been broken. So in The Nose the opera [by Shostakovich] about the man who loses his nose you take the absurd premise but then follow it through rigorously. Theres a lot in the world where we have an absurd premise and we follow it through rigorously for example, in Dr Strangelove and the world of nuclear warfare so that the category of the absurd is for me a very contemporary and important one.
And his home:
The specificity of South Africa appears to be embedded in your work, even when it is not overtly referred to.
It is. As someone who has never moved out of their home town I've lived here for 60 years and within a few kilometres of where I was born it comes in both conscious and unconscious ways. Conscious ways in the musicians, the composers and the vocalists that I work with, but also in the way that the movement and the people performing have a very particular quality. The landscapes are very much South African landscapes: even when Im drawing a Flemish landscape for a production of Woyzeck its very much the landscape outside Johannesburg.
One suspects a cat like this one he did, are "home."