Arsenale Institute for Politics of Representation is premiering a video series by the seminal South African artist William Kentridge. The work will be installed in a setting that recreates the artist's studio. Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the exhibition will open in April 2024 within the framework of the Venice Biennale.

Kentridge is best known for his work with hand-drawn animation, and he is also active in sculpture, theater and opera productions. The exhibition at Arsenale Institute features the video project Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot, a nine-part series that tracks the artist's thoughts and moods during the COVID lockdown in Johannesburg between 2020 and 2022. He contemplates the lack of freedom that was a hallmark of the lockdowns, but also the stifling environment that is created by enclosed spaces in the digital era. Kentridge draws parallels between his studio and the human mind, stating that

the studio is also an enlarged head, a chamber for thoughts and reflections where all the drawings, photos and detritus on the walls become those thoughts.

Kentridge bridges the space between the private and the public spheres, going from a state of solitary self-reflection to one of joyous childhood play and collaboration with others. Christov-Bakargiev, who wrote a monograph on Kentridge's work, says that his art

stems from an attempt to address the nature of human emotions and memory, as well as the relationship between knowledge, desire, ethics, practice and responsibility. Kentridge's alter egos and doppelgängers debate over a series of issues: how does memory work? What makes the self? Why does history always go wrong?

The installation will be on view at Arsenale Institute from April 17 – November 24, 2024. Recently it was reported that the online film platform MUBI acquired streaming rights to the series through a unique deal in which the company purchased an edition of the work. Support for the exhibition was provided by Goodman Gallery, Galleria Lia Rumma and Hauser & Wirth. More details on this exhibition can be found at the Hauser & Wirth site.

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