Son of distinguished anti-apartheid lawyers, his works reflect his personal and global concerns on matters such as repression, injustice and atrocity. Considered to be a key figure in his country’s remembrance process – as it fights to shed its colonial past even today – and racial polarisation, Kentridge uses his work to explore the complex history of South Africa and, more broadly, the nature of human emotions and memory:
«I’m interested in political art, meaning art full of ambiguity, contradiction, incomplete gestures and uncertain endings»
Kentridge’s works allude to society’s different problems through association of ideas, not specific representation of certain situations, thereby making them universal messages, featuring human suffering and social injustice: Kentridge seeks to demonstrate the impact of apartheid and political changes on the population, more than capture them directly. Over the years, he has also included acceptance of this world he has experienced and the vision of a country seeking responsibilities. Faced with the representation of these messages, the spectator is forced to see that their ethical commitment has been questioned, making them complicit in the artist’s protest.
Kentridge uses a highly characteristic stop-motion technique: he modifies and photographs charcoal drawings, often leaving ghostly traces from previous frames on the page. This trace left by the materials is constant and superimposed, as happens with events that form personal and collective memory.
His technique, which the artist himself refers to as “stone age technology”, began in 1989 and evokes the origins of cinema and motion pictures, also referenced in other works such as 7 Fragments for Georges Mélies, Journey to the Moon and Day For Night, all in the Fundació Sorigué collection.