NO, IT IS, 2012 Drawing. Watercolour & coloured pencil on found pages on Velin arches 400gsm 31 x 36 cm

Capetonians have waited five years for a William Kentridge exhibition to come to town. So they flipped when it was announced that South Africa’s great man of art had at last come to the mountain.  In ‘About 2012’, now into it’s final fortnight at the Goodman Gallery, flipping is part of the story. Kentridge’s book offering at the show includes ‘NO, IT IS’, a flipbook published in collaboration with the Goodman Gallery. This is one to note in your diary – and get to – Mother City people, if you haven’t seen it already. The exhibition, which comes down on 2 Feb, offers a fascinating mix of all things Kentridge, including a musical sewing machine and a limited edition vinyl that plays Philip Miller’s theme composed for the old Singer to get you tapping your foot to.

Go to the end of this post for a full synopsis on the show.

William Kentridge, The Smell of Old Books, 2012. Drawing, Water colour and pencil on book pages. 90 x 62 cm.
William Kentridge Paper Gestures, 2012 Drawing, charcoal & pencil on found pages 109 x 89cm
William Kentridge Lie of the Land 2, 2012 Drawing, Indian ink on book pages from Universal Technological Dictionary 149 x 114 cm Available
William Kentridge Invention of Africa 1, 2012 Drawing, Indian ink on book pages from Universal Technological Dictionary 151 x 176 cm




In March and April of 2012, William Kentridge delivered a series of six lectures, the Charles Eliot Norton lectures, at Harvard University. In June The Refusal of Time, a 5-channel video installation with complex soundscape by Philip Miller and a breathing machine, was first presented at Documenta (13) in Kassel, Germany. In October the survey exhibitionWilliam Kentridge: Fortuna opened in Rio de Janeiro. In November The Refusal of Time was seen at MAXXI in Rome, and the related theatre piece Refuse the Hour was performed to sell-out audiences in both Rome and Athens.

The current exhibition of recent work at Goodman Gallery Cape, the first in Cape Town for five years, sets elements from these projects together with new work made especially for the exhibition – allowing the gallery to be the space where different bodies of work collide and make new connections.


The flipbook, NO, IT IS, designed by Fourthwall and co-published with the Goodman Gallery, was the start of a new project of making flipbooks and flipbook films. Both book and films are seen for the first time in this exhibition.

A special edition of the flipbook NO, IT IS comes with an original drawing of one of the pages made for the book.

A selection of pages used in making both book and films are choreographed into panels of between two and fifty drawings each.


Rubrics, a series of red silkscreened texts, punctuate the room. The phrases were both prods for and are remnants of the series of six Norton lectures presented at Harvard University, and were printed at Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg.


A series of large drawings of trees in Indian ink analyse the form of different trees indigenous to southern Africa. Drawn across multiple pages from books, each drawing is put together as a puzzle – the single pages first painted, then the whole pieced together.


The ink brush mark is picked up in selected prints from a series of recent linocuts made at David Krut Workshop in Johannesburg, Universal Archive. Each print was made first as an ink drawing on paper; the image was transferred to lino and then cut, the fluid mark of brush and ink translating into the medium of linocut.

Four collage lithographs of typewriters, similarly derived from ink drawings, were printed by The Artists’ Press in White River, as were a series of smaller stone lithographs.

The two Colour Chart prints, also a translation from ink drawings, were printed by the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg.


A company of kinetic sculptures have their origins in the project The Refusal of Time, and were constructed from megaphones, bicycle wheels, sewing machines, bellows, tripods, drums. A Singer sewing machine performs music composed by Philip Miller, as does a rack of drums, with software design and circuitry for both done by Janus Fouche´. Design and construction of machines by Christoff Wolmarans and Chris-Waldo de Wet.

Four small bronze sculptures cast at Workhorse Bronze Foundry in Johannesburg fragment and gather form as they are viewed from different angles.


A limited edition vinyl of Philip Miller’s musical soundscape for The Refusal of Time comes accompanied by an ink drawing by William Kentridge, and is presented in a box designed and made by Lunetta Bartz.


There are five publications from the past year available at the gallery:

NO, IT IS, a flipbook published by Fourthwall Books, Johannesburg, and Goodman Gallery (also in a special edition)

The Refusal of Time, a document of the creative process for the project of the same name, published by Xavier Barral, Paris

William Kentridge: Fortuna, edited by Lilian Tone, the catalogue of an exhibition that opened in Rio de Janeiro in October 2012 (text in Portuguese)

De Como Na~o Fui Ministro do Estado, a flipbook made for the exhibition William Kentridge: Fortuna, in Brazil (drawn on pages of Machado de Assis’s novel Memo´rias Po´stumas de Bra´s Cubas, first published in 1881)

A Universal Archive: William Kentridge as Printmaker, the catalogue of a substantial prints exhibition touring institutions in the UK, Hayward Publishing, London