Kentridge - The Refusal of Time

28.2.24 - 13.10.24

Revisit one of the most significant new major works in the museum's collection: 'The Refusal of Time' by the South African artist William Kentridge. It is a virtuoso and all-encompassing installation that mixes film, animation, music, graphics, etc. As a spectator, you are entirely absorbed in the immense, pulsating, symphonic visual drama.

Please note that there right now are changed access conditions for Kentridge’s installation. Access is currently from the Sculpture park under the cafe. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask upon arrival at the entrance.

'The Refusal of Time' (2012) is a complex and ambiguous work, full of references to early cinema, history, philosophy, and science. "It's not a scientific lesson in time," Willaim Kentridge explains. "But the work uses the metaphors scientists use when they think deeply about time." Therefore, e.g., references to Einstein's theory of relativity and figures such as black holes - "a space in which everything disappears, a way of talking about death" - throughout the work.

Fragmented narrative of time

In an interview with the Louisiana Channel, William Kentridge gives an introduction to and tour of his breathtaking work, which, in addition to the cinematic and scientific references, also contains tales of the painful past and the anti-colonial rebellions that have left their mark on his native South Africa.

William Kentridge was born in 1955 in Johannesburg, where he still lives and works. He had his breakthrough in the early 1990s with poetic black-and-white stop-motion films, but since the turn of the millennium, he has further developed his idiom and combined it with his love for film and theater. The result is a series of installations consisting of moving images, music, text, and sculptural objects. A form of complex, emotional, and engrossing theater scenes that envelop and overwhelm the viewer.

The work, ‘The Refusal of Time,’ was shown for the first time in Louisiana in the spring of 2016 and again the following year in the large and critically acclaimed exhibition ‘William Kentridge – Thick Time.’ It has become an absolute masterpiece in the museum’s collection and can now be experienced again at Louisiana. It consists of a 5-channel video with sound (duration 28 min), four megaphones, and, on the floor in the middle, a giant mechanical bellows (“Elephant”).

Acquired with support from The New Carlsberg Foundation.