Rochester, N.Y., January 15, 2021—The George Eastman Museum has recently debuted a lyrical animated video by acclaimed artist William Kentridge (South African, b. 1955), Second-hand Reading (2013). The moving image work will be on view through January 31 in the museum’s multipurpose hall.
The video, Second-hand Reading, was part of a donation from William Kentridge in 2015. The artist donated the complete set of his films, videos, and digital-born works to the George Eastman Museum, comprising both original negatives and positive prints covering Kentridge’s entire career as a filmmaker, as well as all of the master elements of his works in electronic and digital media. As the home of the definitive collection and archive of Kentridge’s time-based works, the George Eastman Museum is the leading resource for the appreciation and study of this extraordinary body of work.
Kentridge is best known for his animated films made with his groundbreaking technique of photographing a succession of charcoal drawings rendered on a single sheet of paper. Second-hand Reading transforms two publications—a 1914 edition of Cassell’s Cyclopædia of Mechanics with pages inserted from a 1936 publication of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary—into a flip-book background. Rendered in charcoal, ink, and watercolor, the artist’s ruminations are explored through a selection of recurring figures, poetic aphorisms, and landscapes traversed by Kentridge’s own restlessly pacing form. The soundtrack to the video is a traditional funeral hymn in Sesotho language performed by composer Neo Muyanga in response to the 2012 police massacre of 34 striking mine workers at Marikana, South Africa.
About the George Eastman Museum
Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located on the historic Rochester estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. Its holdings comprise more than 400,000 photographs, 28,000 motion picture films and three million archival objects related to cinema, the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology, one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema, and extensive holdings of documents and other objects related to George Eastman. As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active book publishing program, and its L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation’s graduate program (in collaboration with the University of Rochester) makes critical contributions to film preservation. For more information, visit eastman.org.