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  • Provenance

    Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Johannesburg, Goodman Gallery, Zeno Writing, 8November 2002 – 4 January 2003 (another
    example exhibited)
    New York, Museum of Modern Art, William Kentridge: Five Themes, 24 February – 17 May 2010
    (another example exhibited)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The South African artist William Kentridge is widely recognised for his
    extraordinarily imaginative animations and films in which he combines the
    serious and the playful in absorbing and profound works. Having witnessed
    the dissolution of apartheid first-hand, Kentridge uses these means to
    bring the ambiguity and subtlety of personal experience to public concerns
    and issues that are more commonly constrained by narrow and predefined
    terms. Using film, drawing, sculpture, animation and performance, he
    transmutes serious South African political discourse into powerful poetic
    allegories.
    So it is entirely appropriate that Kentridge should have taken on the stage
    design of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), an opera replete
    with transformations and beguilement overlaying philosophical and
    political themes. Learning the Flute (2003) is in fact part of Kentridge’s
    visual preparation for his celebrated production of the opera, which was
    first staged in 2005 at the Royal Opera House in Belgium. The artist has
    described how Learning the Flute was a preparatory work for his staging of
    the opera:
    “I needed to try to find a language for the production, as a way of making
    sense of the opera as a whole. I had the idea of a blackboard as sketchpad,
    on which ideas could be tested. The blackboard as object remains. The
    film is projected onto a blackboard; it becomes the screen, but in the end
    I did not use it for the drawings themselves … The images tested out on
    the blackboard range from the Egyptian (particularly the falcon but also
    the sphinx in the cage) to the Napoleonic – slightly after Mozart’s time but
    referring to Schinkel’s great designs for the opera. There is diagrammatic
    Baroque stage machinery. The 20th century has a look-in through Man Ray’s
    perfect Masonic objects (the eye on the arm of a metronome).”
    (www.kappatosgallery.com)

135

Learning the Flute

2003
PAL DVD player, stereo amplifier, two small studio monitors, adjustable pole mount
for the LCD projector, blackboard and easel

blackboard: 127 x 165.5 x 2 cm (50 x 65 1/8 x 3/4 in)
easel: 191 x 112.5 x 95 cm (75 1/4 x 44 1/4 x 37 3/8 in)

This work is number eight from an edition of eight.

Estimate
£100,000 - 150,000 Ω

Sold for £112,850

Contemporary Art Day Sale

11 October 2012
London