William Kentridge, recognized the world over for is collage, drawing, engravings, cartoon films and stage performances, was born in Johannesburg in 1955. The son of a well known anti apartheid lawyer, he studied Political Sciences and African Studies in Johannesburg, and he started to practice in visual arts in the Art Foundation of that city. During this stage of his life, he dedicated himself with great passion to the theatre, working as an actor, playwright, stage director and theatre director.
In 1 978 he did his first solo exhibition at the Market Gallery of Johannesburg, continuing with his exhibitions of drawing and engraving during the following decade.
At the beginning of the eighties, he studied Mime and Theatre at the École Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, and became a founder member of the Junction Avenue Theatre Company in an attempt to create works that contributed information about the South African society. Although his work has not been directly related with the period of racial segregation, he has acquired international fame as an artist who works with theme about colonialism and apartheid.
In 1992 he began a continuous collaboration which included multimedia performances with Handspring Puppet Theatre, a company which provides an artistic home and a professional base for a central group of artists, designers, theatre artists and technicians of Capetown.
International recognition arrived to him after his participation in the Bienal of Johannesburg and the Bienal in La Havana in 1997, enshrining him as an accomplished figure in scenic art.
From the middle of the nineties, the works of Kentridge have been exhibited in the main museums, galleries, theatre and opera houses in the world, amongs them Documenta en Kassel in Germany (1997, 2003, 2012), the Bienal de Venecia (1993, 1999, 2005), solo exhibitions in the New York Modern Art Museum (1999, 2010), the Albertina Museum in Vienna (2010), the Paume National Gallery of games, the Louvre Museum in Paris (2010), the New York Metropolitan Art Museum (2005), and opera concerts at the New York Metropolitan Opera (2010) and La Scala of Milan (2011).
Among his distinctions stand out: the Kyoto Prize in recognition of his contributions I the fields of the Arts and Philosophy; honorary member of the United States Academy of Fine Arts and Arts; an Honoris Causa Doctorate in literature at London University; A member of the Philosophy Society of the Arts and Sciences Academy of the United States; the Dan David prize awarded to him by Tel Aviv University; recognition as Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture and Communication of France. And in 2017 he was awarded the Princess of Asturias prize for Arts as “one of the most complete and innovative artists in the international panorama “ and “profoundly committed to reality.”
- "Act II Scene 5”, lithograph, 1996-97.