22 August 2008

William Kentridge (2)

" I. The Dead

A heap of forensic photographs, almost impossible to look through. A man half tumbled out of bed, pyjamas pock-marked with bullet holes, blood on the floor below. A close-up of a man's head in a pool of blood, one cheek swollen - his jaw shattered. Someone - Man? Woman? - under newspapers, one hand sticking out. As specific photographs, it was extremely difficult to look at any of them. In the act of drawing from these images, the photos change. It is not simply that they become a series of greys, and tonal gradations and contours; but rather, the horror of their origin is put on hold."

~ William Kentridge, (2006). From
"Two Thoughts on Drawing Beauty."
Sontag, among many others, worries about photographic depictions of human pain and suffering. In particular, such critics worry about what happens when such depictions project what has been called "beautiful suffering." How does the move from photographic depiction to drawings change things? Why are our assessments different? Is the horror, as Kentridge suggests, really "put on hold"? If so, how?

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