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William Kentridge - More Sweetly Play the Dance

Over the last three decades, South African artist William Kentridge (b. 1955) has achieved worldwide fame for his large, poetic, and incisive installations, which he has developed by combining different types of media: film, animation, drawing, music, and theatre.
Typical of his artistic practice are his charcoal drawings and paper collages, which he photographs sequentially and transforms into animated films. Kentridge’s experiences in South Africa, both during and after apartheid, have profoundly shaped his work, which often explores the historically charged past of his native country through poetic and expressive imagery.

More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015) is a multiscreen installation depicting a caravan procession that stretches from floor to ceiling, forty meters in length. It encircles the viewer, depicting a dancing column of animated drawings and videos of dancers who, led by a brass band, enact a danse macabre: sickly figures are supported by IV drips, priests move almost jauntily while carrying funeral flowers, and columns of people march forward while dragging sacks and dead bodies.

The work evokes long-standing associations with religious processions and cheerful parades. But the motif of the procession also alludes to the flow and passage of refugees—signifying a universal symbol for movement and motion, various political processes and activism, and more generally, the course of history.

An installation from the Maja Hoffmann / Luma Foundation collection