Art21 Extended Play

William Kentridge: “The Nose” Opera Curtain


IT’S OPENING NIGHT! In celebration of Art21’s forthcoming feature film William Kentridge: Anything is Possiblepremiering tonight, October 21, 2010 at 10:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) — the Exclusive series is devoting the month of October to telling stories about Kentridge’s numerous artistic collaborators whom we’ve had the distinct privilege of meeting these past few years. This is the fourth of six episodes.

Episode #125: Set designer Sabine Theunissen and scenic artist John Pitts share how the opera curtain for William Kentridge’s production of The Nose (2010) was enlarged, by hand, from a humble collage. Filmed on location at Kentridge’s studio in Johannesburg, South Africa, and at The Metropolitan Opera’s workshop in The Bronx, New York.

Having witnessed first-hand one of the twentieth century’s most contentious struggles—the dissolution of apartheid—William Kentridge brings the ambiguity and subtlety of personal experience to public subjects most often framed in narrowly defined terms. Using film, drawing, sculpture, animation, and performance, he transmutes sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories. Aware of myriad ways in which we construct the world by looking, Kentridge often uses optical illusions to extend his drawings-in-time into three dimensions.

William Kentridge is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Compassion of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online via PBS Video, Hulu, or iTunes (link opens application).

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Eve Moros Ortega & Susan Sollins. Camera: Robert Elfstrom & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Tom Bergin & Ray Day. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Artwork Courtesy: William Kentridge. Special Thanks: The Metropolitan Opera, New York; John Pitts & Sabine Theunissen. © 2010 Art21, Inc.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.