Segments in this Video

Kentridge's Artistic Techniques (06:23)


Drawing charcoal animated films involves a sheet of paper and a camera. Each drawing is altered and re-filmed, recording the sequence’s movements, including the erasure traces.

Creating the Story for a Film (03:47)

Kentridge does not use a script or storyboard. He goes with an impulse and connects the images. The physical activity of drawing helps him create ideas, such as the coffee plunger in “Mine.”

Drawing Process for Animation (06:05)

Drawing for animation must be done with a sense of urgency. Kentridge works unconscientiously and intuitively. The heart of the films is always monochromatic drawings with spots of color.

Time Frames and Self-Portraits (04:28)

“Stereoscope” is the eighth in a series. Each took four to six months to complete. Kentridge used a reflective figure (Soho) and an active figure (Felix) and incorporated traits of himself in each.

Drawing Human Gestures and Postures (02:28)

Some artists naturally understand how to draw human gestures and postures. Kentridge requires a reference point. He works from photographs of himself but creates a naturalistic effect.

Split World Images and Parallel Images (05:22)

“Stereoscope” refers to visual machines that use a double image to give a 3D effect. Kentridge uses black cats, telephones, and power lines to play with images and language.

Symbolism in "Stereoscope" (03:22)

Images bridge gaps. The blue lines represent something visible that is normally invisible. Images of a city in chaos represent how a sense of disorder outside fits into how one feels inside.

Kentridge's Ideas on Johannesburg (04:38)

Johannesburg has no geographical reason, such as a river or lake, for its existence. As a young boy growing up there in the 1950s, Kentridge was aware of its separateness and abnormality.

Combining Artistic Mediums (03:54)

Kentridge incorporates film, theater, and art in “Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris.” He collaborates with Handspring Puppet Company. Screen drawings represent action on stage.

Kentridge's Stories and Themes (03:35)

Narration must come through the film and theater aspects, as seen in “Ubu Tells the Truth.” Kentridge’s work is a form of diary of outside political conflicts and internal conflicts and feelings.

Themes of Guilt and Political Art (05:39)

Kentridge believes the white guilt of South Africa is short lived and intermittent compared to the violent deeds done. Art should capture the ironies, ambiguities and contradictions of political world.

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William Kentridge: Art from the Ashes

Part of the Series : Video Artists, Video Art: Film at the Fringes of Experience
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.92
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



In this program, artist, filmmaker, and dramatist William Kentridge demonstrates his remarkable filmmaking technique—stop-action animation using photos of charcoal drawings in which he has erased and redrawn scenes in different arrangements—as he works on Stereoscope. Footage from that piece as well as from History of the Main Complaint; Felix in Exile; Sobriety, Obesity & Growing Old; Mine; and Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris powerfully illustrates his abiding concerns with the sociopolitical legacy of racial oppression and colonialism in South Africa. The film clips also reveal how his polemical "drawings for projection" evoke a nuanced sense of time’s passage as each image builds upon the shadowy remnants of prior ones. (52 minutes)

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL34697

ISBN: 978-1-4213-2527-9

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.