Charcoal Matter with Memory: Images of Movement, Time and Memory in William Kentridge's "Charcoal Drawings for Projection"



Fleming D (2013) Charcoal Matter with Memory: Images of Movement, Time and Memory in William Kentridge's "Charcoal Drawings for Projection". Film-Philosophy, 17 (1), pp. 402-423.

In his temporal philosophy based on the writing of Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze describes duration (durée) as a becoming that endures in time. Reifications of this complex philosophical concept become artistically expressed, I argue, in the form and content of South African artist William Kentridge's series of 'charcoal drawings for projection.' These exhibited art works provide intriguing and illuminating 'philosophical' examples of animated audio-visual media, which expressively plicate distinct images of movement and time.   The composition of Kentridge's films at once illuminate a regime of animated 'movement-images' that can trace their aetiological roots to classical forms of film and animation, whilst concurrently folding in complex philosophical expressions of time as duration which invoke the crystalline 'time-image' concepts of philosophers such as Bergson and Deleuze, as well as literary authors like Marcel Proust. Over and above these co-existent regimes of movement and time, Kentridge's artistic technique and exhibition practices further expose a multifarious 'geology' of other embedded time lines that serve to enrich/complicate these temporal expressions. I argue here that diegetic time- and movement-images ostensibly co-exist alongside different 'archaeologies' of time relevant to the context and creation of the artworks. For this reason, the animated drawings formulate intriguing artistic/philosophical expressions that muse on the nature of matter, memory, time and space.

Kentridge; Deleuze; Bergson; Time; Space; Duration; Crystal-images; Time-Images; Movement-images; Animation

Film-Philosophy: Volume 17, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2013
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Publisher URL…article/view/355

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Dr David Fleming

Dr David Fleming

Senior Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture