William Kentridge's A Defence of the Less Good Idea
William Kentridge's A Defence of the Less Good Idea
Image: Joshua Trappler

Internationally acclaimed artist William Kentridge’s The Centre for the Less Good Idea is embarking on a week’s residency in Paris as an invitation from Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. From May 14—20, The Centre will occupy all the spaces of the Boulevard Raspail building from the exhibition rooms to the gardens for a week of workshops, performances, concerts and encounters with more than 30 artists from SA, Benin, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria and France.

This is the first time the Fondation Cartier is hosting an institution for a residency and it is fitting that The Centre be the one to launch this inspired initiative. Founded by Kentridge and visual artist Bronwyn Lace in 2016, it recently celebrated its tenth season as an innovative arts centre with international reach and an incubator space that fosters experimentation, interdisciplinary collaboration and values the importance of process.

Unique in approach and ethos, the conviction in its name encourages failure and the cultivation of secondary ideas. Its success is due to probing the expansiveness of art to produce works that are unconventional, transformative and intellectually stimulating.

Previous seasons have tackled the deconstruction of sonic storytelling — stripping the soul of sound and stretching its performative boundaries; while others have probed form working with the tensions of constricting theatrical epics into theatrical shorts and simultaneously repositioning the relationship between art and technology.

Recently, under the direction of newly appointed impresario Neo Muyanga, The Centre explored the medium of radio plays by staging a series of visual radio plays for a live audience in the first of its Collations programme.

Over the course of the Paris residency, and through a creative, festive and collaborative programme, the public will be immersed in The Centre’s creative process.

The Great Yes, The Great No
The Great Yes, The Great No
Image: Stella Olivier

The intense week will open with the performance lecture and choral work Collapses & Defences. From Wednesday evening onward, visitors will be able to attend HOW | Showing the Making, a session on the workshops held by the artists during the day, and various interdisciplinary performances, including Pepper’s Ghost, a theatrical illusion technique combining live performance and video projections, as well as Sizendlebe | We are Ears, an experimental musical performance illustrating the complexity of translation. On May 19 and 20, audiences can participate in workshops and discussions with the artists, including open work sessions for The Great YES, The Great NO, William Kentridge’s new production for the 2024 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Additionally, Moments of Making, a documentary featuring archives of The Centre’s past five seasons (2019—22), will be screened in the small room on the ground level of the Fondation Cartier, where a sound installation will also be presented.  

Local audiences and followers of The Centre can look forward to the second iteration of Collations planned to take place in October 2024, inviting new filmmakers to extend the exploration of silent films.  

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