William Kentridge, one of the most important and acclaimed artists working today, was in Venice recently to present several projects. These included a video projection commissioned for the fire curtain of La Fenice opera house; an opera production he designed, Claudio Monteverdi's Il Ritorno di Ulisse (with drawn video projections, huge puppets, and a splendid ensemble of singers and musicians) ; an exhibition at Palazzetto Tito (Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa) of sculpture, video, drawing, and an artist's book; and last but not least, a series of coffee and tea cups that he designed for Illy Caffe'. Not only do I admire his work very much (I love his drawn films), but several years ago, I had a wonderful opportunity to get to know Kentridge over a period of days at the time of his print retrospective at Grinnell College. So it was of personal interest for me to see him again, and to finally see a full presention of one of his theatrical works.
On Friday, we attended the press conference at La Fenice, with an advance showing of the video. I drew here (disappointed to have left my regular drawing pen at home) with ballpoint. the drawing is hasty, but includes the artist and others seated on stage. The random lines on the curtain try to capture the changing image. We went on to the exhibition, and attended the opera that night at the Teatro Malibran.
I went back to La Fenice yesterday afternoon for the public presentation of the fire curtain video, because I wanted draw there again, and really take it in.
Finally, did I mention that we bought a set of the espresso cups Kentridge had designed for Illy? The cups are mirrored, the plates have anamorphic drawings, so the reflection on the cup resolves the image. We used them for our late Thanksgiving dinner, and they were a great hit.