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William Kentridge: The Colander opens at Griffin Art Projects

William Kentridge, Drawings for Projections: City Deep, 2020, Video still, 9 minutes 41 seconds, Courtesy of the Artist

The motif of the colander has often appeared in the work of renowned South African artist William Kentridge, eliciting how and when formative state and institutional structures give way, beginning with his examination of post-apartheid South Africa and extending to authoritarian ideologies, regimes and failed states in other parts of the world. Migration, the vulnerability and provisionality of memory and historical account, the absurd and the capricious nature of power and perception in the architecture of socio-political life, are concepts that run throughout Kentridge’s expressive work. Formally, fragmentation and assemblage itself is a conceptual and methodological tool for how the works are made, ordered, shaped and re-ordered in his drawings, films, performances, set design, prints, paintings and sculptures.

This exhibition presents the first solo exhibition to be held in Vancouver on the work of this eminent artist and includes key works from the 1990s through to never-before-seen projects produced in 2020-2021. Drawing from private collections in Western Canada as well as a selection of previous works, including the decades long film cycle, Drawings for Projections (1989 – 2020), this exhibition also features new works from the Kentridge Studio, South Africa produced during the global pandemic. William Kentridge: The Colander explores the critique of political structures in Kentridge’s printmaking and filmmaking—looking at the layered, kinetic and collaged nature of his formal working processes, to investigate the porousness and vulnerability of artmaking and life—as well as the processes of the studio in his most recent series, Studio Life.  Planned with the research and curatorial assistance of Master Printer Jillian Ross of Jillian Ross Print, and the generous collaboration of Brendan Copestake of Parts & Labour, along with VivianeArt, Calgary and David Krut Workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, The Colander will be held at Griffin Art Projects from May 29 to September 4, 2021.

William Kentridge, Studio Life: Blackboard, 2021, Photogravure on Hahnemühle Natural White 300gsm, Paper size: 44 x 54 cm, Plate size: 28 x 42.3 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive public program, titled Worldings, which includes an international and Canadian online virtual conference as well as public programs and residencies, that explore the unique artistic perspectives and histories that exist in Canadian and South African experience as seen through the eyes of artists, writers, curators and activists. The project reflects on the concept of ‘the colander’ and how the global events of 2020-2021 expose, through the experiences that have unfolded in each place, unique histories of precarity, globalization and colonization, to focus on resilience and resistance. This project initially was conceived to consider parallels that exist between Canadian and South African histories of colonization, as well as each country’s eventual Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the reverberations and effects of these colonial political regimes within contemporary 21st century life.  This has since unfolded into a program that will focus on the resiliency with which these challenges have been faced through the lens of the events of historical events of the last year, and the ways in which solidarity, resistance and advocacy are remitted in hope, for their capacities to elicit lasting structural change and collective care.

Griffin Art Projects is grateful to the Richmond Art Gallery, the Polygon Gallery, Wood Shop Vancouver, Fine Art Framing and the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission for their generous support in the presentation of this exhibition.

Griffin Art Projects will now be open Friday to Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Bookings are required and can be made on their website.

Curated by Lisa Baldissera.

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