William Kentridge is a South African artist best known for his prints, drawings, and animated films.
William Kentridge’s Humanitas series looks at the messiness involved in the act of creation. His own works are constructed by filming a drawing, making erasures and changes, and filming it again. A single drawing will be altered and filmed multiple times until the end of a scene. These palimpsest-like drawings are later displayed along with the films as finished pieces of art.
His lecture contrasts the muddle and disorder of creation with the clean, linear nature of the final result – in this case, the lecture itself.
He draws a comparison with this and Freud’s notion of dreams, likening the mess of ideas when one looks back at one’s notes and sketches to the incomprehensibility of one’s dreams upon waking. In this context, he explains how the Walking Tour of the Studio (the title of his lecture series) becomes for the artist an attempt to gain better insight into one’s work.
To epitomize this creative journey and the tension between the artist as creator and viewer, he shows the audience a video he had made in which two William Kentridges appear simultaneously: one attempting to sketch a rhino, and the other critiquing, advising and complaining about his work.