Saturday, May 21, 2016

William Kentridge Working Drawings for his Tiber Project

Bill and I loved William Kentridge's Tiber River embankment murals.
We were excited to hear that Kentridge's working drawings were on display at MACRO -- one of Rome's museums of contemporary art.
We took some time to watch an introductory video featuring two Kentridges, both hard at work.
The two Kentridges were worrying about the project (Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome) -- "But how much does he know about Roman history?" asked the Kentridge on the right. Quite a lot, it seems.
One of the best sections of the video featured Kentridge moving pieces of paper around as a way of bringing his images to their final form.
Always interesting to watch a visual intelligence in action.
Enough preparation. Let's go look at the art.
The main piece in this room, based on the death of Pasolini, was a freely hanging construction.
From behind you can see how this large piece was constructed.
Here's a set of rough drawings for the death of Pasolini (Pasolini, 2 novembre 1975, 2015. indian ink, charcoal and white out on ledger pages).
Close-up of the blood stain on the right. Note that the rough sketches are on printed pages.
Working drawings for the death of Remus (Remus, 2015. Indian ink and coloured pencil on ledger pages). 
Detail of Remus' left foot.
Kentridge is a wonderful draughtsman.
A pleasure to watch his mind at work.
A second video featured the team who helped Kentridge install the murals on the Tiber embankment.
Areas of the grimy walls were cleaned around the giant stencils.
The last room showed the final stages of the rough drawings. This table shows how the drawings have come together into a frieze or parade of figures.
On the left -- the embankment stairs going down to the first figure.
Wonderful, skeletal horse.
Reimagined scene from Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita.
I was fascinated by these framed works because Kentridge had included titles for each of the images.
"Winged Victory -- Trajan's Column"
"1084 -- Expulsion of Gregory VII by Henry IV"
One last set of drawings. Let's look at one close up...

There is so much energy in these little works. This one seems to be about to fly off the page.

More: Our visit to the finished Tiber murals.


  1. Drawing RULES!
    Thanks for letting us all experience this show. What's next???


  2. Agree with you about drawing, Nancy. Where do we go from here? Hard to say.. Working on a post about streets, a little family market, more museums and more meals...

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