Kentridge, William b.1955 / Anti-Entropy
about this work
'Anti-Entropy' is one of the principle images within William Kentridge’s 'Anti Mercator' video, which explores the artist’s ability to suspend time and resist the spatial linearity presented by scientists such as Gerardus Mercator. It is one of the works Kentridge created in 2011 in preparation for 'The Refusal of Time', a project for dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, Germany. This body of work as a whole wrestles with our changing ideas about time, the history of the standardisation of time and resistance to a linear construction of time and space.

In 'Anti-Mercator', playing with concepts of time, Kentridge runs the film backwards so that a drawing is erased rather than created. Images such as a coffee pot, a nude, a typewriter, a cat, a man with a flag etc, are created from a swirling chaos of feathery black particles on the pages of a notebook. The artist gives pompous mock-lectures and is projected running across the open book which doubles as a screen. The scene recalls a sequence by Muybridge, the turning of pages mimicking a frame-by-frame effect.

'Anti-Entropy' is also the title of the 6th and final drawing lesson given by William Kentridge in 2012 at Harvard University as part of the Charles Eliot Norton lectures. The Charles Eliot Norton Professorship in Poetry was endowed in 1925 by C.C. Stillman (Harvard 1898). Incumbents are in residence through their tenure in the Chair, and deliver at least six lectures. The term “poetry” is interpreted in the broadest sense, to include all poetic expression in language, music, or fine arts.

Previous holders of the Norton Chair include Gilbert Murray (1926-27), T.S. Eliot (1932-33), Igor Stravinsky (1939-1940), Charles Eames ((1970-1971), Leonard Bernstein (1972-1973), Frank Stella (1982-84), John Cage (1988-89), Nadine Gordimer (1994-1995), and Orhan Pamuk (2009-2010).

To read more about Kentridge's sixth Norton lecture click here, for the video click here.

This very large drawing is considered one of Kentridge's most important. A special heavy duty frame was built for this work. It was then requested for a touring exhibition across Asia, starting with the UCCA in Beijing in 2015 and then again for a European touring exhibition starting at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark in 2017. The work was excluded from both touring exhibitions due to prohibitive shipping costs as it does not fit in most airplanes.

William Kentridge (b.1955, South Africa)

Anti-Entropy, 2011

Charcoal, coloured pencil and poster paint on brown pattern-makers paper (2 pieces)
Framed: 286 x 373 x 6 cm.
Framed: 112 5/8 x 146 7/8 x 2 3/8 in.
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa Current Location:
Hong Kong - Helutrans S Works on PaperAfrica


William Kentridge: Notes Toward a Model Opera
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
12/01/2015 - 02/03/2016

Kentridge: Anti-Mercator - Solo Booth (Goodman Gallery)
Hong-Kong Art Fair, Hong Kong
May 2011

William Kentridge: Notes Toward a Model Opera
Sifang Art Museum Nan Jing, China


Eunju Park, Collector
Art Books (Book), November 2015, pp. 330

Artwork History
  • artist origin
  • provenance
  • current location
  • exhibitions
  • multiple

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