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  • The Lulu Drawings
  • William Kentridge

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Drawing for Lulu, 2013. Indian ink, red pencil and Tipp-Ex on Oxford Shorter Dictionary pages. 37⅞ x 37⅛ in. (96.2 x 94.3 cm).

© William Kentridge. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

[End Page 33]

Alban Berg’s Lulu opened in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera on November 5, 2015, staged by William Kentridge, who made hundreds of drawings for the project. The Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, exhibited one hundred and twenty of the drawings in November and December of that year. Arion Press published a limited edition with sixty-seven drawings, included with the plays of Frank Wedekind on which the opera is based.

Editor

The drawings, made with brush and ink on dictionary pages between 2011 and 2015, were created for use in the production of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu. The physicality of ink—black ink, ink as blood, the harsh lines and clarity of images corresponding to the ruthless world—becomes an aesthetic equivalent of the instability of desire, a central construct in the opera. Lulu is both less and more than she wants to be, and more and less than her suitors imagine her to be. As such, she is often represented in a fractured formation in the drawings; constructed on multiple sheets; created to deconstruct and to fall apart. As femme fatale, she exists in many forms and there are myriad women representing her.

The drawings are to be projected onto the stage set, each image being broken up by the different layers of scenery the projection encounters on the stage. Sometimes a detail of an image is projected, sometimes the entire image is projected to a size of around 11 by 20 meters. The images used in the production span the period of the plays at the turn of the twentieth century to the opera in the early 1930s. Amongst the images are translations from Beckmann, Kirchner, Klimt, Nolde, Kollwitz, as well as images from documentary and fictional films of the period. [End Page 34]


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Drawing for Lulu, 2015. Indian ink and charcoal on Shorter Oxford Dictionary pages, 22 x 18 in. (55.9 x 45.7 cm).

© William Kentridge. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

[End Page 35]


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Drawing for Lulu, 2015. Indian ink and charcoal on Shorter Oxford Dictionary pages, 31 x 14⅜ in. (78.7 x 36.5 cm).

© William Kentridge. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

[End Page 36]


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Drawing for Lulu, 2015. Indian ink and red pencil on Shorter Oxford English Dictionary pages, 44¼ x 25¼ in. (112.4 x 64.1 cm).

© William Kentridge. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

[End Page 37]


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Drawing for Lulu, 2015. Indian ink, charcoal and Tipp-Ex on Shorter Oxford Dictionary pages, 21⅛ x 22¼ in. (53.7 x 56.5 cm).

© William Kentridge. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.


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Drawing for Lulu, 2014. Indian ink and charcoal on Shorter Oxford Dictionary pages, 20¾ x 20¼ in. (52.7 x 51.4 cm).

© William Kentridge. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

[End Page 38]


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Drawing for Lulu, 2014. 8 parts; Indian ink, charcoal and digital print on Shorter Oxford Dictionary pages, 48⅜ x 42¼ in. (122.9 x 107.3 cm) (overall).

© William Kentridge. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

[End Page 39]


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William Kentridge production of Alban Berg’s Lulu, Metropolitan Opera, November–December 2015.

Photos:

© Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

[End Page 40]

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 33-40
Launched on MUSE
2016-05-04
Open Access
No
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