Tidying up my studio, listening to Norton lecture by William Kentridge

Tidying up my studio, listening to one of William Kentridge’s lecture as part of the Norton series, on YouTube. As I tidy up my studio, I listen and watch, though listening is priority as I need to look at what I am keeping, and what I am throwing away.

His lecture, In Praise of Shadows, is framed by the thinking behind Plato’s cave – raising thinking around what is real, what is not. How important drawing is. His voice and thinking is so fascinating, this is not the first time I have heard this. I find a pile of old notebooks and flip through them, one opens on the page of the notes I made about the lecture last year. I will probably read more old notes this evening.

I find images of my very early films, in the 1990’s, made during my MA in Fine Art.

As I take photos of these old works, I hear Kentridge make a reference to the Bunuel  film “Un Chien Andalou”. I remember it was that film that influenced the work “A Case of Vanity”. I was fascinated by the gaze at the time, and the corporeal and digital body. It showed the reveal of an image of an eye, that I had printed on a sheet of animal gelatine. It had shock value like Bunuel, but humour too. All of those works contained a sense of humour, which I have largely lost in my art over the years. 

I was intrigued by the then news about Dolly the Sheep and made work about that. I used Liquid Light to transfer patterns of various skins onto a sheep’s skull, it still sits on my shelf. While I am typing this, Kentridge is referring to skulls in his talk. It is a very odd synchronicity.

He is talking about how important the studio is to an artist. I have stopped tidying mine up, to write this, as I listen to him. 

He has influenced my work hugely. He inspired me to teach myself how to do drawn animation. I love the fact that he merges text with image, music, film, sound. And his scale is huge!

I am not sure where I will go at the end of this day, but it is intriguing to keep finding links between old work and new. I have prints made during my post-graduate printmaking course, and drawings made in school. I am hoping to move house soon, so I can have more studio space. I just can’t wait.

Published by carolyn black

I'm an artist and also commission contemporary art in unusual locations. As a producer, I fundraise, curate, project manage and deliver projects. I'm also a writer and film-maker.

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