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.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.