Screening Room: ‘William Kentridge: Sibyl’

Streaming 15 – 18 April 2022

  • 11 April 2022

In celebration of the exhibition ‘William Kentridge. Weigh All Tears’ at our Hong Kong gallery, we are thrilled to present an online screening of ‘Sibyl’ (2020) by William Kentridge. The film is free to watch on hauserwirth.com from Friday, 15 April – Monday, 18 April 2022.

In work made over the past five decades, William Kentridge has parsed and questioned the historical record—responding to the past as it ineluctably shapes our present—and in doing so, has created a world that mirrors and shadows our own. Through film, performance, theatre, drawing, sculpture, painting, and printmaking, Kentridge seeks to make sense of the world and the construction of meaning; his work brings viewers into awareness of how they see the world and navigate their way to more conscious seeing and knowing.

‘Waiting for the Sibyl’ premiere, Teatro dell’Opera, Rome, September 2019. Photo: Stella Olivier

William Kentridge. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Norbert Miguletz

This 2020 film ‘Sibyl’—which arises out of his 2019 opera ‘Waiting for the Sibyl’, commissioned by the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and made in collaboration with composers Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Kyle Shepherd—brings together many of the figures, symbols and phrases found within the exhibition, which are seen within the flickering flipbook to a haunting soundtrack. The worker figures reappear in cyanotype blue paint. Drawn leaves appear along with drawings of trees, the figure of the dancing Sibyl, pages of effaced text, household objects, and abstract shapes. The text of the film is taken from the libretto of the opera, which gathered lines from poets, renderings of African proverbs, and lines written specifically for the opera. ‘Day will break more than once’; ‘All so different from what you expected’; ‘Where shall we put our hope?’; ‘You will never see that city’ are among phrases which appear, only to vanish.

Inspired by the myth of the Cumaean Sibyl—who would answer people’s questions about their destiny on oak leaves, which, however, inevitably blew in the wind and became confused—the film and its turning pages and transforming images are a reflection on fate and mortality. Kentridge has said, ‘Hovering over the piece is the awareness that our contemporary Sibyl is the algorithm, which knows us and our destinies better than we do.’

‘William Kentridge. Weigh All Tears’ at Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong is an exhibition organized working closely with Goodman Gallery. This is Kentridge’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, and the first project between Hauser & Wirth and this Johannesburg-based artist. Click here to explore the exhibition online.

Visit this page from Friday 15 April, 12am HKT – Monday 18 April, 11:59pm HKT to watch the film.

‘Sibyl’, consisting of ‘The Moment Has Gone’ along with ‘Waiting for the Sibyl’ will next be performed at the Barbican in London from Friday, 22 April to Sunday, 24 April 2022. William Kentridge will give a post-show talk on Saturday, 23 April.

The work is also available to watch in person at the exhibition ‘William Kentridge. Weigh All Tears’ at Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, 11am – 7pm, Tue – Sat, till 29 May 2022.