Daily from nightfall till midnight
The large-scale panoramic projection »More Sweetly Play the Dance« by South African artist William Kentridge shows a procession of shadowy figures, accompanied by the sounds of a brass band. The dancing skeletons are reminiscent of a mediaeval death dance. Workers swinging flags and carrying banners awake associations with a political demonstration. Musicians and dancing clergymen make one think of religious processions. Last but not least, the procession of people nearly collapsing under the weight of their luggage and personal belongings and who are marching towards an uncertain future and, all too often, death, is reminiscent of the images of refugees we see on a daily basis.
Thus, the motif of the procession becomes a general symbol of movement, the course of history, political change as well as the global flows of refugees. This motif plays a central role in Kentridge’s oeuvre. It appears for the first time in 1989/90, at a time when the apartheid system in South Africa began to be dissolved. The political transformation was accompanied by mass demonstrations, in which Kentridge also participated. The title »More Sweetly Play the Dance« is an allusion to Paul Celan’s famous Todesfuge (Death Fugue) and the line »Play death more sweetly – this Death is a master from Deutschland«. However, Kentridge does not show a mere dance of the dead, but rather shadows passing by Plato’s cave.
William Kentridge, who was born in 1955 and whose parents campaigned for the abolition of apartheid, aims to fight for justice using the means of art, which becomes very clear in his work. The presentation of the work in public space, on the "Platz der Menschenrechte" [“Square of Human Rights”], adds a further important level of significance to it.
The projection is a massive 22 metres long and six metres high. In addition to the superimposition of the media of drawing, shadow theatre, performance, dance, music, film and projection, William Kentridge also employs computer animations in »More Sweetly Play the Dance« for the first time in his artistic work.
The work was produced at the invitation of Peter Weibel and with the support of the lichtsicht 5 Projection-Biennale in Bad Rothenfelde and the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam.