Marian Goodman Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
In 2003, South African artist William Kentridge was commissioned to stage and direct a production of Mozart's The Magic Flute for the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. The project led to the creation of a magnificent body of work including films, miniature theatres, and a series of drawings and prints. Preparing the Flute, 2005, is William Kentridge's model stage set for Mozart's The Magic Flute transformed into work of art.
The project was a natural fit for Kentridge. His work has a narrative, theatrical quality, often using sequences of drawings animated for projection, reflecting an admiration for the early days of film. His themes, however, are informed by his upbringing in Johannesburg during the height of the apartheid years. Much of his work directly addresses the tyranny of authority, the psychological consequences of apartheid's worst extremes and the dark side of Enlightenment ideals, the "enforced wisdom" which underpinned the ravages of colonialism. Working in black and white, Kentridge explores ways of thinking about darkness and light. His technique of erasure, erasing and subtly altering the lines of his drawings leaving traces of what has come before, leaves behind a palette of grays and comments on the ephemeral nature of historical memory.
This work is in very good condition overall. The sheet is hinged verso intermittently along the edges to the mat. There are multiple artist pinholes in each of the four corners, along the top, left and right edge and beneath the second horizontal band of drawings in the upper quadrant. The top and bottom edges of the sheet are heavily deckled, with associated creasing and minor tears. There is slight undulation to the sheet and a very faint crease along the right edge, approximately 17 in. from the top edge. There are smudges throughout, inherent to the work and from time of execution. Framed under Plexiglas. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.