Covering 40 years of South African artist William Kentridge’s (born 1955) internationally acclaimed production in drawing, stop-frame animation, video, prints, sculpture, tapestry and large-scale installation, Why Should I Hesitate stands as a definitive statement on his vast oeuvre. This deluxe production, published in an edition of 1,800 copies, is comprised of two slipcased volumes with a unique print in lapis lazuli.
The title references Kentridge’s primary practice of drawing and how this core activity informs and enables his studio practice. It also references the impact of individual action on history and the reverse-how history shapes the contemporary and the future-and serves as a commentary on various shifting hegemonies of power politics, economies, language and the authority to narrate history.
The two volumes showcase two complementary exhibitions, held at the Norval Foundation and Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town, which together form the largest, most comprehensive presentation of Kentridge’s work, anywhere, ever.
Why Should I Hesitate?: Sculpture, at Norval Foundation, is the first exhibition to address Kentridge’s output as a sculptor, from the props used in his operas to his recent, monumental bronze sculptures, premiering as part of this exhibition. As an extension of Why Should I Hesitate?: Sculpture, the publication includes a visual index of his sculptural practice; a photo essay charting the development of his large Lexicon sculptures; and a comprehensive essay by Columbia University’s Dr. David Freedberg, which locates Kentridge’s work within several key artistic movements.
Held at Zeitz MOCAA, Why Should I Hesitate?: Putting Drawings to Work spans more than forty years of art making, with a focus on Kentridge’s studio practice. The accompanying publication includes essays, conversations, a lecture, and a meticulous timeline of the history of 20th-century South Africa, interwoven with a chronology of the artist’s life, work and thinking over the decades