In his work, Kentridge erases and alters a single, stable drawing while recording the changes with stop-motion camera work. He modifies the drawing slightly and adjusts the images gradually, depending on what he sees behind the camera, to create a motion. Kentridge talks about the flexibility of charcoal used in his drawings and sketches and the versatility of his composition to develop animated films. “You can change charcoal as quickly as you can change your mind. One can take a drawing and with one brush it just disappears. So there’s flexibility in it as well as a kind of granularity that I really like,” he said.
Kentridge’s studio is essential in his creative process as a “vital physical and psychic space” where the charcoal drawings are made and the animated films are edited. Using a metaphor, the artist describes his studio as “a kind of expansion of one’s head where instead of a synapse or a thought travelling three centimeters from one part of the brain to another, it’s the eight meters walk across the studio from one drawing to another image.”
William Kentridge was born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa where he currently lives and works. He studied Politics at the University of Witwatersrand and Fine Arts at the Johannesburg Art Foundation in the 1970s. He worked as an actor, playwright, and theatrical director, and studied mime and theatre in Paris in the early 1980s. His interest in the visual arts stemmed from its connection with the theatrical arts. Kentridge has also been active in the performing arts, creating innovative stage design of well-known operas.