3 Potential Artists for Presentation

23 02 2010

William Kentridge

William Kentridge is a South African artist and was born in Johannesburg in 1955. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and African Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and then a diploma in Fine Arts from the Johannesburg Art Foundation. At the beginning of the 1980s, he studied mime and theatre at the L’ƒcole Internationale de ThŽ‰tre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. He had hoped to become an actor, but he learned that he was not that talented in acting and settled with being an artist instead. Between 1975 and 1991, he was acting and directing in Johannesburg’s Junction Avenue Theatre Company. In the 1980s, he worked on television films and series as an art director. Kentridge is best known for his animated films. These are constructed by filming a drawing, making erases and changes, and then filming it again. He continues this process meticulously, giving each change to the drawing a quarter of a second to two seconds’ screen time. A single drawing will be altered and filmed this way until the end of a scene. These drawings are later displayed along with the films as finished pieces of art.

After learning his process, his work is very labor intensive. One of his most famous pieces, Stereoscope (1999), took about nine months to make alone. It takes a while because there is no script or storyboard and Kentridge’s ideas are worked out on the fly. Having momentum for his projects is difficult because the work is so slow, which sometimes results in never getting finished. William Kentridge believes that making film is all about finding focus and finding what the film is about. If the film was storyboarded, it would make focusing a lot harder. When it is being thought out while it is being done, it becomes part of the film’s subject.

I am interested in researching Kentridge because his conceptual ideas portrayed in his work relate to most of what we have discussed in class. Time is a very important element to his films. For example, Kentridge’s use of music also adds to the effect of time by getting more and more precise as it gets closer to the completion of the film. His work also includes current events at the time he was working on that project, which I find interesting because his art records history at the same time.

Billy Bang

The renowned violinist, composer and improvisor Billy Bang was born in Mobile, Alabama, grew up in the South Bronx, and studied with the brilliant composer-performer Leroy Jenkins. In the 1970’s he formed The Survival Ensemble, and later co-founded The String Trio Of New York. Bang has performed and collaborated with such remarkable musicians as Sam Rivers, Frank Lowe, Sun Ra, Don Cherry, Marilyn Crispell and James Blood Ulmer. His enthralling performance on Roulette TV video opens with the wistfully plaintive blues melody, “Daydreams”. Bang extends the opening emotional atmosphere through an astonishing variety of techniques that elicit dramatic and forward-propelling images before returning to the beginning mood. A wonderfully lyric ballad with allusions to play and work songs follows. Dedicated to Bang’s friend Dennis Charles who went by the nickname Jazz, this composition is appropriately entitled “One for Jazz”. Included in the piece is a poem that was his friend’s favorite, authored by Bang. The third and last selection is a firey, non-stop cadenza at presto-tempo, “Untitled”. Bang talks about searching and exploring the components of “Daydreams” and of being “magnetically pulled” into new aspects of the piece. He recalls the combination of Jazz and the European spirit in the AACM, and illuminates the “loft jazz” years in New York, emphasizing the creative persons involved and the development of more open ways of playing.

I would be interested in researching Billy Bang because it is different from the art of film, it is about music and the conceptual meaning that you get from listening to it. I used to play the violin in high school, so I can relate to the feeling of expression while playing or practicing. I thought it was cool how Bang used the form of music to symbolize his “daydreams” because in class we expressed our dreams on paper, so it was interesting to compare and contrast between different forms of art over the same conceptual idea.

Terry Fox

Terry Fox was born in 1943. He studied at the Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle and the Accademia di Belli Arti in Rome. His performances and works have been seen throughout the United States and Europe, at festivals and institutions including the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; Documentas 5 and 6, Kassel, Germany; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; De Appel, Amsterdam; Modern Art Gallery, Vienna; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum Folkwang, Essen, West Germany; Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris; Het Apollohuis, Eindhoven, Holland; and Gallerie L’A, Liege, Belgium. Fox lives in Liege.

Terry Fox was a central participant in the West Coast performance art, video and Conceptual Art movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Working in the San Francisco Bay Area, his political, site-specific performance actions explored ritual and symbolic content in the objects, places, and natural phenomena of everyday life. Fox’s work in video is an extension of these concerns. His 1974 Children’s Tapes is a classic early investigation of the medium. With wit and ingenuity, Fox used the intimate scale and time-based properties of video to translate the aesthetic and formal tenets of minimalism, real time, perception and performance into the realm of the everyday. He is living and working in Europe for the past several years, Fox has continued to produce multi-media installations, performances and sculptures.

I find Terry Fox interesting because he is well-rounded as an artist and some of the films he has made are quite comical. For example in his Children’s Tapes showed him capturing a fly by using an intricate trap, which was kind of entertaining. He puts a lot of emphasis on the movements of everyday life such as simply pouring water into a bowl, threading a needle, etc.


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