William Kentridge: 'I am not me, the horse is not mine'
William Kentridge’s multi-channel projection installation of eight film fragments, entitled I am not me, the horse is not mine, was first presented to international acclaim at the Sydney Biennale in June 2008. The work is based on the absurdist short story, The Nose (1837), by Nikolai Gogol, in which the pompous government official, Kovalyov, wakes up one day to find that his nose has taken on a life of its own and gone for a walk around the city of St Petersburg. In a sequence of comical scenes, the main character attempts – with increasingly ridiculous efforts – to chase after his nose, recapture it and stick it back on his face.
I am not me, the horse is not mine stems from the artist’s ongoing interest in the roots and development of modernism: a mixture of the absurd, the self-reflective (and the ‘self-divided’) and its many forms of fragmentation. It also deals particularly with Russia’s response to modernism in the 1930s and the histories and terrors of oppression. This exhibition was made possible by the Goodman Gallery.
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