William Kentridge
Je n’attends plus
© Victor&Simon - Joana Luz

William Kentridge:
Je n’attends plus

La Mécanique Générale
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William Kentridge is one of the most multi-faceted artists of his generation. Combining drawing, film, sculpture, theater, and opera, he is renowned for his politically engaged practice.

In conjunction with the world premiere of his newly commissioned opera The Great Yes, The Great No, which will debut at LUMA Arles this summer, the exhibition Je n’attends plus (I am Not Waiting Any Longer) presents a group of major works, some of which have not been seen in Europe before. Dealing with issues of migration, oppression, racial relations, the transmission of history, and the role of the artist in a society under duress, the exhibition brings together a remarkable body of experimental and performative work.

For more than forty years, the work of William Kentridge has examined South African history at the intersection of the personal and the political. His film installations deploy rhythmic frescoes which are always influenced and inflected by the context and cultural expressions of Johannesburg, the city in which they are made. Simultaneously they draw on elements from the history of avant-garde Europe with post-Cubist, Dadaist, and Surrealist overtones. His charcoal drawings, mask inlays, collages, puppets and sculptures give his works a dreamlike, liminal, and sometimes abstract dimension, an important component of Kentridge’s singular language.

While colonial and racial issues linked to the South African context are points of departure for universal questioning, Kentridge is also interested in other geographies, such as the Russia of the Soviet Union, the island of Martinique, and the German Empire, among others. In addition to a new production based on the opera The Great Yes, The Great No, the exhibition will present large-scale installations in La Mécanique Générale, including Oh to Believe in Another World (2022), More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015), and KABOOM! (2018) as well as the iconic Porter Series tapestries.


Curated by Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, Director of Exhibitions and Programs and Flora Katz, Curator, with Lilah Rémy, Assistant Curator.



Une heure, une expo (in French only)

For an hour, the mediators of LUMA Arles invite you to (re)discover the exhibition about William Kentridge. Each time slot is dedicated to a specific exhibition, enabling visitors to deepen their understanding of an artist's work through a detailed and enriching presentation.

July 19
August 16
September 13

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Portrait of William Kentridge
© Norbert Miguletz

William Kentridge (born Johannesburg, South Africa, 1955) is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, theatre and opera productions.

His method combines drawing, writing, film, performance, music, theatre, and collaborative practices to create works of art that are grounded in politics, science, literature and history, yet maintaining a space for contradiction and uncertainty.

Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Musée du Louvre in Paris, Whitechapel Gallery in London, Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen, the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Zeitz MOCAA and the Norval Foundation in Cape Town and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He has participated a number of times in dOCUMENTA in Kassel (2012, 2002, 1997) and the Venice Biennale (2015, 2013, 2005, 1999 and 1993). His works are also in the collections of museums around the world.

Opera productions include Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Shostakovich’s The Nose, and Alban Berg’s operas Lulu and Wozzeck, and have been seen at opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, English National Opera in London, Opera de Lyon, Amsterdam opera, the Sydney Opera House and the Salzburg Festival. 

Kentridge’s theatrical productions, performed in theatres and at festivals across the globe include Refuse the Hour, Winterreise, Paper Music, The Head & the Load, Ursonate and Waiting for the Sibyl and in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company, Ubu & the Truth Commission, Faustus in Africa!, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, and Woyzeck on the Highveld.

Kentridge is the recipient of honorary doctorates from several universities including Yale, London University and Columbia University. In 2010, he received the Kyoto Prize. In 2012, he was awarded the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in France and he presented the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University. In 2015 he was appointed an Honorary Academician of the Royal Academy in London. In 2017, he received the Princesa de Asturias Award for the arts, and in 2018, the Antonio Feltrinelli International Prize. In 2019 he received the Praemium Imperiale award in painting in Tokyo. In 2021 he was made a Foreign Associate Member to the French Académie des Beaux Arts, Paris. In 2022 he was presented the Honour of the Order of the Star of Italy and in 2023 he received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for Sibyl in London.


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