William Kentridge. Weigh All Tears. Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong

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In work made over the past five decades, William Kentridge has recorded and reconfigured history – responding to the past as it ineluctably shapes our present – and in doing so, has created a world that mirrors and shadows our own. Through film, performance, theatre, drawing, sculpture, painting, and printmaking, Kentridge seeks to make sense of the world and the construction of meaning; his work brings viewers into awareness of how they see the world and navigate their way to more conscious seeing and knowing. Opening 14 March, Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong will present ‘William Kentridge. Weigh All Tears’, an exhibition organized working closely with Goodman Gallery. This is Kentridge’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, and the first project between Hauser & Wirth and this Johannesburg-based artist.

William Kentridge Mechanic 2020 Hand-woven mohair tapestry 263 x 274 x 1 cm / 103 1/2 x 107 7/8 x 3/8 in © William Kentridge Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Jon Etter
William Kentridge Mechanic 2020 Hand-woven mohair tapestry 263 x 274 x 1 cm / 103 1/2 x 107 7/8 x 3/8 in © William Kentridge Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Jon Etter

The exhibition takes its title from a new 6-metre-wide triptych of the same name, where silhouetted figures form a procession against a collage of maps of Africa and historic documents. ‘Weigh All Tears’ is a phrase that cycles through Kentridge’s work, like the phrases he often uses in other larger series, they are “unsolved riddles, phrases which hover at the edge of making sense. These are fragments of sentences which sit in a drawer of phrases used in other work over the years. On occasion they get taken out and sorted through.”

The figures in the triptych can also be seen in four new tapestries in the exhibition, on view alongside three laser cut steel heads sculptures, as well as a series of 2021 bronzes, which represent a kind of self-portrait. “As if one definition of ourselves is the mass of associations with which we are filled, all of them waiting to latch onto the world and its objects as they come towards us.”

Finally, the 2020 film ‘Sibyl’ brings together many of the figures, symbols and phrases, seen within a flickering flipbook. Inspired by the Cumaean Sibyl answering people’s questions on oak leaves that inevitably blew in the wind, the film and its turning pages and transforming images reflect fate and mortality. “Hovering over the piece is the awareness that our contemporary Sibyl is the algorithm, which knows us and our destinies better than we do.”


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