WILLIAM KENTRIDGE | GLYPHS
29 NOVEMBER - 30 DECEMBER 2021 AT THE MIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT
Paradise Plaza, 151 Northeast 41st Street, #123 Miami, FL 33137
William Kentridge’s glyphs are a visual dictionary of sorts made up of a series of sculptures that form a vocabulary of symbols, representing a collection of everyday objects, suggested words, or icons that reoccur throughout the artist’s practice.
The glyphs started as ink drawings and paper cut-outs, each transformed into bronzes, to embody the weight and character their shapes on paper suggested. In their smaller form, they can be arranged in order to construct sculptural sentences, and rearranged to deny meaning. In late 2017 and early 2018, Kentridge chose a selection of glyphs from the small-scale Lexicon set and made larger-scale versions, each close to a metre in height.
This exhibition collates six such key sculptures from Kentridge's first two glyph sets, Lexicon and Paragraph II. These are shown alongside six new bronzes premised on forms from his his Wozzeck drawings and most recent glyph set, Cursive.
"I always thought of one of the small Cursive pieces as barbed wire – two trestles holding this loop of curls and swirls – the way it looked when gathered from the work I was doing on Wozzeck from the First World War, which included landscape drawings with barbed wire fairly similar to this. It struck me that the small Cursive piece was standing on four legs, which were in fact the edges of the trestles supporting the swirling suspended in the middle. That the central swirls were something of the belly, and the shape altogether, reminded me of the outline of Picasso’s goat – one of the great sculptures of the 20th Century. Without adjusting the body of the sculpture, I simply cut out a cardboard schematic goat’s head and suddenly this abstract set of swirls turned into the creature. So, the goat was a discovery – I hadn’t really known at the beginning that it would become one." - William Kentridge, Johannesburg, November 2021
Apart from the bull and goat, the other cursive forms, Copperplates I, II, III and IV, are all unique. There is no record of what the original was, as that’s been burnt out, so they are one-offs. They were made in cardboard and foamcore, cut and swirled, trying again different kinds of turns and loops, and then those were covered with plaster and burnt out in the furnace. The original materials were burnt out and replaced with bronze, so there was never an intermediate stage. One sculpture is of the barbed wire itself, the others sets of these turns and curls.” - William Kentridge, Johannesburg, November 2021