Art21 Extended Play

William Kentridge: Composer Philip Miller


In celebration of Art21’s forthcoming feature film William Kentridge: Anything Is Possiblepremiering 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 second of six episodes.

Episode #123: Composer Philip Miller talks about his long-time collaboration with William Kentridge, scoring and performing original music for the artist’s animated films such as Felix in Exile (1994) and the multi-channel video installation I am not me, the horse is not mine (2009). Miller’s compositions synthesize and draw inspiration from various musical traditions, from the romantic classicism of Antonín Dvořák, to the modern atonality of Dmitri Shostakovich, to the folk instrumentation and harmonies of contemporary South African choral music.

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: Susan Sollins. Camera: Jarred Alterman & Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Artwork Courtesy: William Kentridge. Special Thanks: Philip Miller & The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2010 Art21, Inc.