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William Kentridge – Royal Academy of Arts, UK

24 Sep — 11 Dec 2022

South Africa’s most celebrated living artist transforms the RA’s Main Galleries with electrifying, immersive art spanning his 40-year career.

William Kentridge is internationally acclaimed for his charcoal drawings, animated films, theatre and opera direction, tapestries, sculptures and large-scale performance pieces.Bridging the gaps between draftsmanship, dance and literature, his work – epic in both scale and ambition – responds to the legacies of colonialism and apartheid.

Born in Johannesburg, Kentridge’s art developed against the backdrop of South Africa’s apartheid regime and the censorship of the 1980s. His early work often depicts what he has described as the “damaged logic” and absurdity of the era, and the country’s erasure of history.

This ambitious exhibition – the biggest Kentridge exhibition in the UK to date – spans all 12 rooms in the RA’s Main Galleries, spilling out into our public spaces, and includes new work created in response to the galleries.

Presenting a sweeping overview of Kentridge’s 40-year career, it includes rarely seen works from the 1980s up to the present day, revealing an artist at the height of his creative powers.

Highlights include 4-metre tapestries and monumental charcoal and Indian ink drawings created in his Johannesburg studio; breath-taking animation and set designs including the mechanical theatre piece, Black Box/Chambre Noire – all the things that make up his practice.

Our Friends preview days take place on 21, 22 and 23 September, 10am-6pm.

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