National histories and catastrophes of humanity—in the projects of two contemporary artists whose main mediums are related to film, space and documentation.
William Kentridge (b. 1955) is a Johannesburg-born artist, significantly influenced by the history of his home country, from the horrors of apartheid to the internal resistance headed by Nelson Mandela, and the overall political collisions that have been taking place in South Africa. Graphic and printed works where Kentridge’s artistic career began in the 1970s, have made a huge impact of the rest of the mediums and materials he has been experimenting with over decades, especially animated films and films proper. His works are executed in a recognizable manner, usually in a grim palette with elements of gestural expressionism, which together produce an overwhelmingly haunting visual effect on the viewer. In recent years, he has concentrated more on film and animation, while also making commissions, including opera stage designs and public art, as well as working as a theatrical director.
Michal Rovner (b. 1957) is a female contemporary artist from Israel who studied film and philosophy at Tel Aviv University before receiving a BFA in photography and art from Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and subsequently moving to New York in the late 1980s. Rovner actively works with photo, video and sound, but also makes sculpture and installation art, often merging all these formats in her exhibition projects. During her entire career, her central themes have been history, archaeology and memory. The narratives she selects or invents are usually connected to some of the most painful geo-political themes, including the Israeli-Palestinian and the Israeli-Lebanon conflicts. She also created an installation Trace of Life, 2013 in Auschwitz-Birkenau, dedicated to the hundreds of children tortured and murdered in concentration camps during the holocaust . In 2003, she represented Israel at the 50th Venice Biennale, while in 2006, Rovner built two stone temples for the Cour Napoléon, commissioned by the Louvre Museum.