William Kentridge does a bit of everything. The world-renowned multidisciplinary artist from South Africa has worked on films, sculpture, music, theater productions and more, but he is perhaps best known for his animated drawings. This month, the Warehouse MKE (1635 W. St. Paul Ave.) is displaying the largest privately held collection of Kentridge’s work, including some never-before-seen pieces. The exhibition comes from the private collection of Warehouse MKE owners Jan Serr and John Shannon and ranges from Kentridge’s early works – including linocuts, etchings and screen-printed theater posters – to masterful charcoal drawings, lithographs and sculptural objects. Plus, some new pieces he created as recently as this year.
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“His work invites viewers to make meaning through looking and seeing, while recognizing that meaning is conditional, ambiguous and sometimes contradictory,” says Melanie Herzog, guest curator for the exhibition.
Some of the works touch on Kentridge’s life experience in South Africa. “While much of Kentridge’s art is deeply personal and evocative, the outside world also inflects and is reflected in his work,” Herzog says. “Through allegory and metaphor, he responds to the legacies of colonialism and apartheid, remembered and forgotten histories, and the passage of time.”
During the exhibition’s run, The Warehouse will host and collaborate on a series of educational programs, performances, events and discussions about the artist and his work. Some of the local collaborators include the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and Present Music.
“William Kentridge: See for Yourself” is on view July 8-Dec. 16. For details and event updates, visit thewarehousemke.org.