Blog by the artist Sanne Kabalt

The pleasure of not knowing what you're doing

I recently had the pleasure of hearing an artist I truly admire speak: William Kentridge. The South-African artist is currently exhibiting If We Ever Get to Heaven in Eye Amsterdam.

What struck me were his words about how some of his works came into existence. "Oh, the pleasure of not knowing what you're doing!" he exclaimed. When Kentridge started making animated charcoal drawings for projection he was frantically looking for the best eraser. Someone else had to tell him that the smudges and traces of previous shapes are in fact the best part of these animations. "All my good ideas have been in spite of myself," Kentridge mused.  I don't think he was being modest. Neither do I think Kentridge is any less of an artist for being unaware of the strengths of his own work. What I conclude from his words is: You do not always know what you are doing and this is okay, inevitable, necessary. Do it anyway. "The only hope is for things to emerge from the activity. If they are waiting for me to wait what they should become, not much would happen." A victory for making over thinking. Thank you Mister Kentridge. 


William Kentridge

William Kentridge