Thick Time. Installations and Stagings

William Kentridge

Accompanying his staging of Alban Berg´s opera „Wozzeck“ at this year´s Salzburger Festspiele, the Museum der Moderne presents at both its venues a comprehensive survey of William Kentridge´s work. While the Mönchsberg exhibition shows large and more spectacular video installations, the show at Rupertinum focusses on the artist´s work for theatre and opera.

I have to admit I am no adept of the performing arts. But I think that firstly, William Kentridge breathes new life into the concept of „opera“, and secondly, that he comes quite close to one of the original ideas behind it, as at least the opera buffa was a rather wild and playful affair. In many of his works the urge and joy to create surfaces and some of them appear to have been made at high speed, even though we cannot know if and how protracted the work process has been. Anyway, it is quite clear that William Kentridge, who was born in Johannesburg in 1955, is at home with theatre and opera, which results in the playful and easy character of many of his creations.

The exhibition imparts a view behind the scenes, almost into the artist´s methods of operating, and apart from the works´ inherent beauty and quality, this is one of its most interesting aspects.
It might be tacky to use terms like „enchantment“ in connection with the Magic Flute, but it is really hard to think of an other synonym when looking at the many-layered stage model „Preparing the Flute“ (2004/5), my favourite piece in this exhibition. Perhaps, some day, opera will attract me too.

Julia Maurer


Museum der Moderne Salzburg - Rupertinum
Wiener Philharmoniker Gasse 9
5020 Salzburg

Header: Ausschnitt aus Second Hand Reading 2013, Daumenkino-Film aus Zeichnungen auf einzelnen Seiten des Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, High-definition Video (Farbe, Ton), 7:01 Min. (Loop) Videostill;  Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery

1: Preparing The Flute 2005 Theatermodell;2 Filme, 35mm, animiert, transferiert auf Video (Farbe, Ton) ; 21:06 Min. (Loop); Videoprojektion auf Holzstruktur; 177 x 166 x 70 cm; MAXXI. Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Roma, Inv-Nr. 13639

2: Ausstellungsansicht;The Nose, 2010

3: The Nose (with Strawberries); (Die Nase [mit Erdbeeren]); 2012; Gewebter Bildteppich mit Stickerei; Kettfaden: Polyester; Schussfaden und Stickerei: Mohair, Acryl und Polyester; 340 x 230 cm; Hergestellt von Stephens Tapestry Studio, Diepsloot, Johannesburg, ZA; Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery