Details & Cataloguing

Modern & Contemporary African Art


William Kentridge
wood, metal, bicycle wheels and rubber wheels
231 by 104 by 104cm., 91 by 41 by 41in.
Executed in 2016
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Gifted to the present owner by the artist 

Catalogue Note

William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1955. Stating that “all my work is rooted in this rather desperate provincial city,” it is clear that his work is closely tied to Johannesburg and its history. He uses prints, drawings, film and sculpture to form his thoughts and ideas investigating pre and post-apartheid South Africa. Through these various materials, the severity and sobering messages of such political events are moulded into something much softer and poetic.

The present lot is constructed from found objects: the wheels and chain from a bicycle, a megaphone, a tripod and rulers. Through this striking structure Kentridge demonstrates his artistic process of reusing and reclaiming old objects to put to new use. This work engages the viewer with a handle bar and bicycle peddle that can be turned and peddled, respectively. As the peddle and handle turn, a megaphone rotates around the central structure. The artwork in its entirety is reminiscent of a theatrical prop. Kentridge’s artistic process is one of rewriting and reusing; he often draws and erasers and overwrites on paper and constructs works, such as 'Kinetic Sculpture' from old materials. One of Kentridge's favorite mediums is performance and the present lot is an example of the mechanised sculptures he uses in his performances, for example in his most recent exhibition at the the Tate Modern. The sell-out performance of 'The Head and The Load' in July 2018 involved music, dance, film and mechanised sculptures which created dramatic and striking silhouettes, portraying African porters and carriers who served during the First World War.

Kentridge studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (1973-1976) and went on to study mime and theatre at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris (1981-82) and received acclaim for his exhibition Thick Time at White Chapel Gallery in London which evoked 1920s technology and Dadaist collage. Today, Kentridge has works in The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Art Institute, Chicago, the Tate Gallery, London and the Goetz Collection in Munich.


Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, William Kentridge, Sociétés des Expositions du Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1998, p. 14

Modern & Contemporary African Art