William Kentridge: Glyphs

Goodman Gallery Presents William Kentridge: Glyphs - Omenka Online

From 29 November to 30 December 2021, Goodman Gallery, Miami will present an exhibition of new and existing bronze sculptures from William Kentridge’s ongoing series of bronze glyphs, alongside a drawing from his most recent animated film, City Deep. Kentridge’s glyphs are a visual dictionary of sorts made up of a series of sculptures that form a vocabulary of symbols, representing a collection of everyday objects, suggested words, or icons that are ubiquitous in the artist’s practice. The glyphs started as ink drawings and paper cut-outs, each on a single page from a dictionary. The drawings were transformed into bronzes, to embody the weight and character their shapes on paper suggested. In their smaller formation, the glyphs can be arranged in order to construct sculptural sentences and rearranged to deny meaning.

“I always thought of one of the small cursive pieces as barbed wire – two trestles holding this loop of curls and swirls – the way it looked when gathered from the work I was doing on Wozzeck from the First World War, which included landscape drawings with barbed wire fairly similar to this. It struck me that the small cursive piece was standing on four legs, which were in fact the edges of the trestles supporting the swirling suspended in the middle. That the central swirls were something of the belly, and the shape altogether, reminded me of the outline of Picasso’s goat – one of the great sculptures of the 20th Century. Without adjusting the body of the sculpture, I simply cut out a cardboard schematic goat’s head and suddenly this abstract set of swirls turned into the creature. So, the goat was a discovery – I hadn’t really known at the beginning that it would become one.” – William Kentridge, Johannesburg, November 2021.

Apart from the bull and goat, the other cursive forms, Copperplates I, II, III and IV, are all unique. There is no record of what the original was, as that’s been burnt out, so they are one-offs.  They were made in cardboard and foamcore, cut and swirled, trying again different kinds of turns and loops, and then those were covered with plaster and burnt out in the furnace. The original materials were burnt out and replaced with bronze, so there was never an intermediate stage. One sculpture is of the barbed wire itself, the others sets of these turns and curls.” – William Kentridge, Johannesburg, November 2021.



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