Over the past 6 weeks William Kentridge has shown the form of the lecture itself to be obsolete. But over the course of his returns to the podium, he has shown us that the lecture’s fate is not so dire as he had induced us —- for seventy minutes at a stretch -— to believe.
Six Drawing Lessons
Mistranslation weaves through this lecture, for every translation is a mistranslation. But that is what makes them fruitful. As soon as we mis-hear or fail to understand, the brain constructs an instant bit of narrative to bridge the gap in understanding.
William Kentridge spoke of the value of using a mirror to re-learn what he already knew how to do; the clear implication was that we are daily surrounded by mirror-images that we do not see for themselves but that hold the potential to alter our relationships to our tools and to our visions.
The decisions William Kentridge makes in his minute to-ings and fro-ings are akin to the decisions a poet makes as she works her measure over and over again.
For William Kentridge history accrues, falls dead, is born, washes up, piles up, and may be artfully arranged, but the most powerful place that this accretion might happen is in the artist’s studio, which is a metonym for the human mind.
After hearing just the first of William Kentridge’s six Norton Lectures, I have no doubt that this series of “Drawing Lessons” will be one of the most entertaining and enlightening artistic events of 2012.