C. Maria Laudando

Of Trees and Flipbooks: Multimedia Wounded Passages in William Kentridge's Second-hand Reading

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Keywords: William Kentridge; Memory and Obsolescence; Flipbooks; Multi-media Narrative.

The article discusses the affective, political and medial issues revolving around the memory/oblivion nexus as powerfully inflected by the renowned South-African artist in his work and, in particular, in his recent constellation of works titled "Second-hand Reading" (2013). This multi-media miscellany of preliminary drawings, flipbooks, lectures, sculptures and video installations not only confirms Kentridge's lifelong involvement with the 'interregnum' of post-apartheid South Africa and of our transitional age at large but also marks a sort of mesmerising autobiographical excavation of the multiple ways in which images and words turn and return, can be opposed and juxtaposed, hidden and unveiled, torn and repaired, calling attention to an ongoing metamorphic process of improvisation and experimentation between visual and verbal, drawing and writing, narrative and antinarrative. In a way the poignant flipbooks in the Second-hand Reading video installation magically turn the yellowish pages of obsolescent encyclopedic texts into a (back) stage of uncanny transformations and migrations of the words-asimages themselves with their disruptive typography as well as their overdetermined 'load' of fugitive memories and creative mistranslations, simultaneously working as deep intimations of estrangement and engagement.

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