William Kentridge’s More Sweetly Play the Dance, 2015, looks both unlike anything you’ve seen and something like a lot of things you’ve seenboth new and hauntingly familiar, it expertly mines both current and ancient forms of art and community as well as both novel and established devices within Kentridge’s practice, producing both wonder and recognition. Recent headlines may come to mind, but so, for me, did Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film The Seventh Seal, though I wasn’t sure why until, reading the artist’s notes in a catalogue published by Amsterdam’s Eye Film Museum, which co-commissioned the work with the Lichtsicht Projektions-Biennale, Bad Rothenfelde, Germany, I saw his references to the Dance of Death, the visual and literary genus that inspired some of Bergman’s images and evidently Kentridge’s as well. Pictures and plays about the Dance of Death began in the medieval
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