Sunday, 2 October 2011

my all time hero

In my continuing saga of missing fantastic artists who are visiting Moscow, I failed to notice that William Kentridge was giving a performance at Garage yesterday. But never mind, because the exhibition - Five Themes - which is a traveling show from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art*, presents a truly breath-taking and brilliant selection of his work to date; covering sketches, animations, made objects, films, 3D projections and multi-screen installations, all showing his obsessive versatility, fantastical imagination and - often clownish - humour.  He should be as famous as, I don't know, artists like Gerhard Richter and Jake/Dinos Chapman  (or maybe he is and I was just foolish to only discover him accidentally a few years ago).

And somehow his work seems particularly relevant right here, right now. Both because it sits outside much western contemporary art, being not conceptual, intellectual and self-referential but graphic, metaphorical and narrative-based (that is, much more like contemporary Russian art) and because it has a way of incorporating politics that is very engaged and explicit without being didactic - something other (rather more inward and personal) artists here could learn from.

So - a must see if you happen to be in Moscow before 4th December 2011.

* To be properly accurate, from the San Francisco Museum, together with the Norton Museum of Art.  Show curated by Mark Rosenthal.

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