Events > Prelude [Exhibition] William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (Asian premiere)
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FEB 08 SAT–MAR 16 SUN, 2014

Prelude [Exhibition]

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Prelude [Exhibition] William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (Asian premiere)

William Kentridge

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* This exhibition has ended. Read report

Music and soundscape: Philip Miller
Video editing: Catherine Meyburgh
Dramaturg: Peter Galison

Making of:

As a prelude to Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015, almost exactly a year in advance, the Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture Organizing Committee, the Kyoto Association of Corporate Executives, Kyoto Prefecture, and Kyoto City will present the Asian premiere of South African artist William Kentridge’s large-scale video installation, The Refusal of Time (2012).

The Refusal of Time is a 5-channel video installation with a complex soundscape, megaphones, and a large breathing machine that Kentridge calls the ‘elephant.’ The work was made for Documenta 13 (Kassel, 2012), where its deep meditation on time and the rich visual experience it offers brought critical and popular acclaim from the hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world. It is appropriate that this important work is shown for the first time in any Asian country here in Kyoto, a city that has strong ties with the artist, with a history including his lecture at Doshisha University when he first came to Japan in 2008 by the invitation of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, his large-scale traveling exhibition (also his first solo exhibition in Japan) that opened at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto in 2009, and, of course, the 2010 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy, of which he is the youngest laureate to date.

In the late 1980s, Kentridge began creating his signature ‘drawings in motion,’ which are made by photographing charcoal-and-pastel drawings with a 35 mm motion picture camera, adding new marks and erasures frame by frame to make the drawings ‘move.’ These animated works sent shock waves throughout the art world, and he continues to be a great influence on young artists everywhere.

The Refusal of Time arose in part out of a series of conversations with the American historian of science Peter Galison of Harvard University on matters including the history of the control of world time, relativity, black holes, and string theory, as well as workshops featuring the South African dancer Dada Masilo, who is especially known for her innovative and unconventional high-speed interpretations of classical ballet. The work is characterized by a kind of ambiguity, with what appears to be time’s refusal of humanity’s endless efforts to seek out its meaning, or its refusal to be defined, and, on the other hand, humanity’s refusal or attempts to escape from the rules and restrictions set by time as defined by humanity. It presents an important milestone indicating Kentridge’s current intellectual position in his ceaseless examination of the universal and primordial issues of the modern age. Of the six editions that were made of this work, most were acquired by major public collections around the world soon after its first showing at Documenta 13. This exhibition was made possible by the cooperation of the owner of edition 5/6, the Ishikawa Collection in Japan.

William Kentridge
b. 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa; based in Johannesburg. Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015 participating artist. Read more: William Kentridge

  • Prelude [Exhibition] William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (Asian premiere)

    B3-size poster for Kyoto City community billboards. Designed by Tsutomu Nishioka

  • Prelude [Exhibition] William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (Asian premiere)
  • Prelude [Exhibition] William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (Asian premiere)
  • Prelude [Exhibition] William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (Asian premiere)
  • Prelude [Exhibition] William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (Asian premiere)
Prelude [Exhibition] William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time
Saturday, February 8 – Sunday, March 16, 2014 (closed on Wednesdays) 11:00 AM–7:00 PM (doors close at 6:30 PM)
Auditorium, former Rissei Elementary School
310-2 Bizenjima-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8023 (south of Kiyamachi and Takoyakushi)
* Hankyu Kyoto Line: 3 min. walk north from Exit 1a, Kawaramachi Station
* Keihan Main Line: 5 min. walk northwest from Exits 4 or 5, Gion-Shijō Station
* No parking available. (Paid parking lot for bicycles located near venue.)
Presented by
Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture Organizing Committee, Kyoto Association of Corporate Executives (Kyoto Keizai Doyukai), Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City
Under the auspices of
Inamori Foundation, The Japan Foundation
From the collection of
Ishikawa Collection (Okayama)
With the cooperation of
Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto University of Art and Design
Funded in part by a grant from
Nomura Foundation
Approved by
Association for Corporate Support of the Arts, Japan
Adults: 500 (400) JPY
University students: 300 (200) JPY
* Discounted rates in ( ) apply for advance tickets and groups of 20 or more.
* High school students and visitors under 18 or over 70 will be admitted free of charge (identification required).
* Persons with disabilities and 1 attendant/caregiver will be admitted free of charge (proof of disability required).
Advance tickets
Available from Dec. 10 (Tue.) to Feb. 7 (Fri.) at select locations in Kyoto. More information
Related event
William Kentridge “Escaping One’s Fate: Commenting on The Refusal of Time
Lecturer: William Kentridge
Date: Saturday, February 22, 2014 1:00–3:00 PM
Venue: Ponto-chō Kaburenjō Theater
* Free admission, no reservation required
Access Program
Feb. 15: Prelude: Access Program [History of Cinematography] Kiyotaka Moriwaki “Cinema in Kyoto: When Art and Entertainment Were Closely Intertwined”
Feb. 16: Open Research Program 06/Prelude: Access Program [Narrative Generation] Toh EnJoe “For The Refusal of Time
March 1: Prelude: Access Program [Social Philosophy] Masaki Nakamasa “Philosophical Consideration on the ‘Time of Art’: Implications of ‘Time Experience’ in the Discourses of Heidegger, Benjamin, and Other German Thinkers”
March 8: Prelude: Access Program [Science/Physics] Humitaka Sato “Making the Time”
March 9: Prelude: Access Program [Aesthetics & Theory of Arts] Hiroshi Yoshioka “Disassembling the Time Machine: Spatialized Time or Time as a Machine”
* Free admission, reservation required
Other Public Programs
Feb. 8 & 9: Prelude: Teachers’ Program
Between Feb. 8 and March 16: Prelude: School Program
March 15: Prelude: Family Program