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William Kentridge: Learning the Flute

This is week on “Art for Art’s Sake,” we celebrate William Kentridge’s 2003 film, Learning the Flute. The work is on display as part of William Kentridge: The World is Process.

As with most of William Kentridge’s opera themed works, the 2003 film Learning the Flute was visual preparation. In this case, the production was Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which premiered in 2005 at the Royal Opera House in Belgium. The film is characteristically Kentridge, using charcoal drawings on paper, subsequent erasures, and stop-motion animation to tell a story.

Learning the Flute “was made to find the visual language for the opera,” writes Kentridge. “The form, the blackboard, was the given; the photographic positive and negative of the black drawing on white paper, reversed to produce white chalk drawings on the blackboard, was the discovery.”

Learning the Flute is showing July 24–October 24, 2010 in the FAC’s second floor gallery. Just look for the chalkboard!

William Kentridge Learning the Flute Courtesy Museum of Modern Art New York © 2010 William Kentridge