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William Kentridge - Whitechapel Gallery, London

September 26, 2016

We are thrilled to display William Kentridge's Gyroscope (Drawing from the film Medicine Chest) in parallel to the opening of Whitechapel Gallery's new major exhibition, which celebrates the most widely recognized South African artist in the world. In this exhibition of six large-scale installations by the artist, music and drama are ruptured by revolution, exile and scientific advancement. But it is his drawing that truly synthesizes his multi-faceted oeuvre. 

 

This work is an image from Medicine Chest (2000), a film created specifically for Kentridge's first American retrospective held in 2001. Charcoal animations were projected from the wall into the interior of a medicine chest whose mirror had been replaced by a smooth surface. This effect played on a key theme in Kentridge’s oeuvre of ongoing physical metamorphosis. The gyroscope itself draws fascinating connections with Kentridge’s drawing-animation technique, which is always in the process of changing, or, in flux. 

 

Kentridge depicts the gyroscope in the low flat landscape of his native South Africa. He has said that, “Johannesburg is essentially very flat. Throughout my childhood the only mountains we had were the mine dumps, the large mine tailings all around Johannesburg from the gold mines…” The layering of personal, aesthetic, and, ultimately, political memory that much of his oeuvre is known for also informs this landscape as well. Gyroscope was recognized by the artist as a fully realised work of art and was exhibited separate from the movie, as its own entity, throughout the retrospective.

 

William Kentridge: Thick Time

Whitechapel Gallery

21 September - 15 January 2017