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William Kentridge awarded the "Goslarer Kaiserring"


William Kentridge, © Goodman Gallery

He became known through his artistic films: distorted, hand-drawn works that examined South Africa's devastated mining landscape, for instance, the country he was born in and that forms the background of his refined political art. Now, William Kentridge, who has been commissioned to create a work for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin in 2005, has been awarded the Goslarer Kaiserring, an art award given by the city of Goslar and one of the most important art prizes worldwide.

"Drawing and erasing, marking contours and then blurring them, accumulating blacks and tearing light areas into them: a constant process of change takes place on the paper, recorded by a camera…" – This is how the art critic Katrin Bettina Müller characterizes Kentridge"s working process.

Kentridge himself has said that he's made the theme of apartheid the central leitmotif of his work. "I have been unable to escape Johannesburg. And in the end all my work is rooted in this rather desperate provincial city. I have never tried to make illustrations of apartheid, but the drawings and films are certainly spawned by and feed off the brutalised society left in its wake".

William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1955. In 1976, he completed his studies at the University of Witwatersrand in political science and African studies. He experimented with theater for four years. Since 1992, he has been working together with the famous Handspring Puppet Company. His main focus, however, is on drawing and film; his works were introduced to an international public in 1997 at the documenta X.

In receiving the Kaiserring, Kentridge is joining a highly illustrious circle of artists – the first award winner was Henry Moore in 1975. Since then, Joseph Beuys, Max Ernst, Cindy Sherman, Jenny Holzer, and Sigmar Polke have received the award, among others. Gerhard Richter's installation Eight Grey was the last work commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim.