William Kentridge has gained international recognition for his distinctive animated short films, and for the charcoal drawings he makes in producing them. But Kentridge has worked in theatre for many years, initially as designing and acting, and more recently as director. Since 1992 his theatre involvement has been in collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company - creating multi-media performance work using actors, puppets, projectedimages and animation, words, and music.
Whilst he has throughout his career moved between film, drawing and theatre, his primary activity remains drawing - and he sometimes conceives his theatre and film work as anexpanded form of drawing. Since participating in Dokumenta X in Kassel in 1997, solo shows of Kentridge's work have been hosted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and MCA San Diego, and during 1998 and 1999 a survey exhibition of his work was seen in Brussels, Munich, Barcelona, London, Marseille and Graz. In 1999 he was awarded the Carnegie Medal at the Carnegie International 1999/2000.
February 2001 saw the launch of a substantial survey show of Kentridge’s work at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, travelling thereafter to New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Cape Town. Recent projects include a shadow oratorio, Confessions of Zeno, seen (with the associated film Zeno Writing) at Documenta XI, 2002. Projects for 2003/2004 included a commission for large bronze figures for the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth and a survey exhibition at the Castello di Rivoli near Turin (touring thereafter to Dusseldorf, Sydney and Montreal).
In October 2004 William Kentridge received the prestigious Goslar Kaisserringin recognition of his contribution to contemporary art. In 2005 Kentridge will direct a production of Mozart’s Magic Flute commissioned by La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels; also scheduled for 2005 is a substantial exhibition for Japan, China and Korea. Kentridge sees his work as rooted in Johannesburg, where he continues to live today.