Felix in Exile
1994, Single-channel video, 8 min 43 sec
Having experienced the dissolution of apartheid in South Africa, William Kentridge, whose eclectic oeuvre spans prints, drawings, animated films and performance, is primarily concerned with issues of social injustice and colonialism in his home country. Composed of forty charcoal drawings, this animated work tells the surreal story of Felix, a recurring character from the artist’s previous work, and an African woman named Nandi, which takes place during Felix’s exile. Made just before the first democratic presidential election in South Africa, the film highlights the widespread killing and suppression that occurred in the country during the apartheid years. The technique of erasing and re-drawing images on the same sheet of paper is also seen as a crucial element in Kentridge’s artistic practice, as it symbolises the lingering legacy of apartheid on South Africa in the twentieth century.
Photo courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery/ Copyright: Yang Fudong