William Kentridge (born Johannesburg, South Africa, 1955) is among the most prominent contemporary artists today. He works in and across mediums of drawing, writing, film, performance, music, theatre and collaborative practices, to create works of art that are grounded in politics, science, literature and history, whilst maintaining a space for contradiction and uncertainty.
Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums, galleries and theatres 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, Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen, the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, and the Kunstmuseum in Basel. His work can be found in the collections of art museums and institutions across the globe.
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.
In 2016 Kentridge founded the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg: a space for responsive thinking and making through experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts practices. The Centre hosts an ongoing programme of workshops, public performances and mentorship activities.
He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from several universities including Yale and the University of London. Prizes include the Kyoto Prize (2010), the Princesa de Asturias Award (2017) and the Praemium Imperiale Prize (2019). He was elected as an Honorary Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2015.
Born: 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality: South African
Elected Hon RA: 10 December 2014
Preferred media: Sculpture, Film making, Graphic design, Engraving, and Animation