The Role of The Artist in Society

What is the role of the artist in society? Are there multiple roles they can play? What contributions can an artist make? What are the benefits and drawbacks of having a plan—versus play or spontaneity—when creating a work of art? What might Kentridge mean when he says the “seriousness of play” is about “staying in the looseness of trying different things?” Why call the act of play “serious”? Choose one of Kentridge’s drawings or a still image from one of his films and discuss how this image reflects both playful and serious elements. How does Kentridge balance planning and spontaneity? How can students (and teachers) similarly incorporate both in their work? Discuss how Kentridge describes his relationship to society. What does his work do? How does Kentridge “re-evoke” that initial shock he experienced as a boy when he saw what people were capable of doing to one another? How does he express this? What reasons might he have for making work through erasure, rather than making multiple drawings or even animating his work on a computer? Why might Kentridge use this process over other animation methods? Why show the process?

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