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William Kentridge. Drawing from Stereoscope. (1998-99)

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William Kentridge (South African, born 1955)

Drawing from Stereoscope

Date:
(1998-99)
Medium:
Charcoal, pastel, and colored pencil on paper
Dimensions:
47 1/4 x 63" (120 x 160 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, with special contributions from Anonymous, Scott J. Lorinsky, Yasufumi Nakamura, and The Wider Foundation
MoMA Number:
410.1999
Copyright:
© 2014 William Kentridge

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art , p. 187

This drawing was executed along with the animated film Stereoscope, the eighth in Kentridge's decade-long series featuring Soho Eckstein, the archetypal white Johannesburg businessman of the post-apartheid era and an alter ego of the artist. The role of drawings in Kentridge's oeuvre has developed over time. Initially created in service to his films, they gradually took on a more independent life, and in 1992 the artist began showing them separately.

Here Eckstein stands in a room, knee–deep in water. It seems to be pouring from his dark business suit, as if, underneath, his whole body is crying. A vertical blue line rends the upper part of the picture in two and falls on the back of his inclined head like a reminder from his conscience. Eckstein has to cope with the horrifying past of his country, Kentridge has written, and find a line "between choosing a more solitary life or being promiscuously social." For the artist the drawing is a ghost image, a witness to "the extent to which politics does or does not find its way into the private realm."

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