Exhibition

William Kentridge

The Refusal of Time

December 10, 2016–April 2, 2017

Floor 7

Time—it can be concrete, discrete, arbitrary, or elastic. Artist William Kentridge’s The Refusal of Time—jointly owned by SFMOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and making its West Coast debut—evokes an embodied history of time while exploding the very notion of how we mark its passage. In this immersive installation, synchronized video projections feature live action, animation, and dance; audio feeds incorporate music and sound; and a central kinetic sculpture called “the elephant” breathes in a steady rhythm. The Refusal of Time grew out of conversations between the artist and Harvard physicist Peter Galison, and encompasses Kentridge’s wide range of artistic practices and visual motifs, including drawing, film, sculpture, and performance. Allusions to Greenwich Mean Time, Einstein’s theory of relativity, the burgeoning Industrial Age of the late nineteenth century, and South African theater collide as they bring to life a world that is constantly revolving, spinning, and breaking apart, but is always profoundly alive.


Generous support for William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time is provided by Carolyn and Preston Butcher.

Entry to this exhibition is included with general admission.

Header image: William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012 (video clip); jointly owned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (purchase, by exchange, through an anonymous gift and the K. Hart Smith Trust); © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved

Exhibition Preview

  • Installation view, William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time

    William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012 (installation view); jointly owned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (purchase, by exchange, through an anonymous gift and the K. Hart Smith Trust); © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved; photo: courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Video still, William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time

    William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012 (still); jointly owned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (purchase, by exchange, through an anonymous gift and the K. Hart Smith Trust); © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved

  • Video still, William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time

    William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012 (still); jointly owned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (purchase, by exchange, through an anonymous gift and the K. Hart Smith Trust); © 2012 William Kentridge, all rights reserved

Watch

In this video produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, South African artist William Kentridge explores the question of what time looks like. He discusses his multimedia installation The Refusal of Time (2012), a joint acquisition between the Met and SFMOMA.