Saturday, 7 June 2014

Research for "Jasmine-Tree: Copy Cat" Project 3

One of the most inspiring animated pieces that I got to watch last November (2013), it was shown either at Tate Modern: "Felix in Exile". South African artist William Kentridge mainly works with prints and drawings that he would draw and film frame by frame, topping up and sometimes (and this is awesome) erasing or smudging the actual drawing while filming. "Felix in Exile" is a masterpiece that have been created back in 1994, it still speaks today of the exile theme in the same intense way.

Fully black and white charcoal, the only 2 other colors used would be the blue for the scenes that include water and outlines in red, used as a marker line.

This is part of the summary that have been published on the Tate Website:
"Felix in Exile is Kentridge's fifth film. It was made from forty drawings and is accompanied by music by Phillip Miller and Motsumi Makhene. It introduces a new character to the series: Nandi, an African woman, who appears at the beginning of the film making drawings of the landscape. She observes the land with surveyor's instruments, watching African bodies, with bleeding wounds, which melt into the landscape. She is recording the evidence of violence and massacre that is part of South Africa's recent history. Felix Teitelbaum, who features in Kentridge's first and fourth films as the humane and loving alter-ego to the ruthless capitalist white South African psyche, appears here semi-naked and alone in a foreign hotel room, brooding over Nandi's drawings of the damaged African landscape, which cover his suitcase and walls. Felix looks at himself in the mirror while shaving and Nandi appears to him. They are connected to one another, through the mirror, by a double-ended telescope and embrace, but Nandi is later shot and absorbed back into the ground like the bodies she was observing earlier. A flood of blue water in the hotel room, brought about by the process of painful remembering, symbolises tears of grief and loss and the Biblical flood which promises new life. Kentridge has commented: 'Felix in Exile was made at the time just before the first general election in South Africa, and questioned the way in which the people who had died on the journey to this new dispensation would be remembered' (William Kentridge 1998, p.90). In this film Nandi's drawing could be read as an attempt to construct a new national identity through the preservation, rather than erasure, of brutal and racist colonial memory."

Watch the animated video:

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