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William Kentridge

William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012, five-channel video projection, sound, megaphones, mixed media. Installation view, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2013.

A MELANCHOLY GENIUS of the great tradition, William Kentridge asks the big questions. With The Refusal of Time, he wonders: Is it all over when we die? After debuting at Documenta 13 in 2012, the installation made its New York premiere at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past fall (it is on view until May 11). It tackles no less than the vicissitudes of time, the end of the universe, black holes, and string theory; yet this visionary treatment of such weighty subjects prompts a feeling of almost religious reassurance. Produced with many contributors, the work is pure Kentridge on an operatic scale. The artist drew inspiration from hours of conversation with historian of science Peter Galison, who is credited as collaborator, along with video editor Catherine Meyburgh and composer Philip Miller. The work’s nostalgic aesthetic is enlivened by the addition of South African

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