William Kentridge: Black Box/Chamber Noire
October 29, 2005 - January 15, 2006
South African artist William Kentridge is best known for work that is politically engaged, visually spectacular, and concerned with the theme of memory. The artist's Black Box/Chambre Noire, a multimedia installation commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim and set to open in its Berlin space this fall, confirms this reputation. The work plays with three meanings of "black box" as the theater space, the chambre noire (or body) of a camera, and the flight-data recorder used to retrieve information from an airline disaster—while also exploring early film history and the German colonial experience in Southwest Africa, now known as Namibia.
At the center of Black Box/Chambre Noire is a theater in miniature, a freestanding structure filled with mechanical figures, scenic elements, and video projections which combine to create a dynamic, visual experience. The projections will feature thematically and textually multilayered films made from Kentridge's charcoal drawings and sculptures, found film footage, and other archival elements. In addition, charcoal drawings, paper collages, and sculptures will be exhibited alongside the installation.
William Kentridge in his studio during preparations for Black Box/Chamber Noire, 2005. Photo: John Hodgkiss.