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The Institute for the Less Good Idea

The Institute for the Less Good Idea

Visiting William Kentridge at his Johannesburg studio.

Profile for Financial Times magazine | 2 September 2016 | [PDF].

My (longer) edit, with The Nose reinstated:

I knew I was at the right place because of the cats. Two sculpted, spiky creatures faced each other atop the gates in Houghton, one of Johannesburg’s wealthy, jacaranda-shrouded suburbs. I recognized them from drawings, etchings and films – in which cats emerge from radios (Ubu Tells the Truth), curl into bombs (Stereoscope), turn into espresso pots (Lexicon). Now they had become metal, swinging open to reveal a steep driveway and above it a brick and glass building perched on stilts amid foliage: the studio. A gardener directed me past some cycads to the right entrance and there an assistant ushered me in to meet William Kentridge. He was wearing a blue rather than a white collared shirt, but in all other aspects conformed to his self-appointed uniform: black trousers, black shoes, the string of a pince-nez knotted through a button hole, the lenses stowed in a breast pocket when they were not on his nose.

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Prince Pro

Prince Pro

About my father's record collection and my mother's tennis racket.

Object Relations: Essays and Images.  Edited and photographed by Stephen Inggs | Michaelis School of Fine Art, 2014. Reprinted in Monday Monthly | 1 December 2014.

...It is a Prince Pro, with a dark frame and a brown grip. Once, in the 1970s perhaps, it was cutting-edge, the era when my mother was wielding it from the baselines of the Rec Club (she was never much of a net player), dispatching her trademark cross-court slices. The grip seems to be the original, and is worn smooth like old wood by the serves and volleys, the ceaseless changing between forehand and backhand, rough or smooth, p or d.

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Indefinite Delay

Prisoner in the GardenThe Last Days of Nelson Mandela. New Statesman10 October 2013. Cover Story. ...Caught off-guard in someone else’s charade, resisting it, indignant, defiant – the image captures something of Mandela’s ubiquity and distance, the hypervisibility but simultaneous opacity of the man. And just as his passing is not fitting any of the pre-rehearsed scripts, so his words, preserved in the world memory of the internet, point towards some other, different calculus of the political and personal that has already passed away – a language that is anachronistic, delayed, unsettlingly late...

Chasing Shadows

  Santu Mofokeng | Chasing Shadows

These photographs explore a part of me which I have so far neglected in my work, – my spirituality. There are several reasons why it was ignored: ambivalence, embarrassment, fear of the political and other implications or perhaps the deflection of my gaze...

I grew up on the threshing floor of faith. A faith that is both ritual and spiritual – a bizarre cocktail of beliefs that completely embraces pagan rituals as well as Christian beliefs. And while I feel reluctant to partake in this gossamer world, I can identify with it. It does not strike me as 'peculiar'. Yet, I still try to avoid being trapped in its hypnotic embrace, which seems to mock my carefully cultivated indifference and self confidence. I feel ambivalent about my ambivalence, embarrassed at my embarrassment.

Santu Mofokeng, 1997.

Platform | South African Photography and Contemporary Literature Zoe Wicomb and Ivan Vladislavic | Bergen Kunsthall, 14 January, 2012.