a cura di Editorial Staff, il 26/11/2009
In the Museum of Capodimonte’s large reception room that contains the famous d’Avalos tapestries, artist William Kentridge has placed eleven newly made monumental tapestries, sketches and drawings on original documents and maps of the Kingdom of Naples and small sculptures in bronze, all designed especially for his solo exhibition “Streets of the city (and other tapestries)”, open until 20th January 2010.
The works are linked to the series of the “Horse” and “Nose tapestries”, the ideal continuation of the “Porter Series”, a group of smaller works which present a procession of shadows projected onto maps, made by the artist beginning in 2001.
«While the first series” says the artist, “depicted ‘porters’, this one is equestrian. They are antiheroic equestrian figures, in a hopeless crusade through history, riders and horses in a search of a promised land, rather than the Promised Land».
In the “Nose tapestries” explicit reference is made to Gogol’s short story “The Nose”, written in 1836. “Tristan Shandy” by Sterne (1759) and “Don Quixote” by Cervantes (1601) are the literary precedents for this tale which uses the absurd as a narrative expedient.
In Gogol’s story, the nose abandons its owner and rises to greater authority and prestige, trying to become an equestrian hero. The story describes the attempts by the state councillor Kovalèv to trace and regain possession of his organ and the parallel solitary adventures of the nose along the streets of St Petersburg.
Besides the “biblical map” of Egypt and Palestine, ten or so engravings depicting the city of Naples and the surrounding region represent the “background landscape” of the adventures of the “Nose” in the guise of an equestrian hero. This confirms the strong link of the artist – already director and set designer of the “Magic Flute” at the San Carlo Theatre in October 2006 – with the city of Naples which has, over the centuries, been the land of conquest and injustice but also a picturesque and disturbing muse for the arts and culture.
Since 1997, the year of his participation at Documenta X at Kassel, many solo exhibitions of the work of William Kentridge (Johannesburg, 1955) have been held in museums and galleries throughout the world, beginning with the MCA in San Diego (1998) and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1999). In 1998 the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels presented an anthological exhibition of his works which moved to other European museums between 1998 and 1999. A new retrospective of his works, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, was held in the rooms of the Castello di Rivoli in 2004 and then in many other museums in Europe, Canada, and South Africa. 2009 marked the start of large new travelling exhibition which began in San Francisco and then moved to various museums in Texas, Florida, MoMA in New York, before being transferred to Europe.
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