William Kentridge (ZA)

© Paula Court

“Let us take words that don’t make sense, showing us the impossibility of language to expose its limits.” This is how renowned artist William Kentridge explains the motivation behind Dadaist sound poems that celebrate nonsense. For example, Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate, which was written in the aftermath of the First World War. According to Kentridge, this type of sound poetry is highly topical because “we live in an age where language is constantly being twisted”. So he decided to turn the Ursonate into a witty performance in which he himself recites the text that begins as follows: “Fumms bö wö tää zää Uu, pögiff, kwii Ee...” The reading is complemented by a film of Kentridge’s animated drawings and he will be joined by selected musicians from The Great Yes, The Great No: Anathi Conjwa (vocalist), Marika Hughes (cello), Nhlanhla Mahlangu (choral composer / performer) and Nathan Koci (accordion / banjo).

Austrian Premiere

Duration: 50 Min
Price: 20 / 28 / 38 Euro
Reduced: 17 / 23 / 32 Euro

Recommended from the age of 10.
17.7.2024, 19:30
© Paula Court
© Paula Court
© Paula Court
© Paula Court


Director: William Kentridge
Libretto based on Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate
Performance: William Kentridge and selected performers from The Great Yes, The Great No
Set design: Sabine Theunissen
Video editing: Janus Fouché
Video orchestration: Josh Trappler
Production: THE OFFICE performing arts + film

Toured in partnership with Quaternaire (FR)

William Kentridge’s Ursonate was commissioned by the Performa Biennial and premiered at the Harlem Parish in New York City as part of the Performa 17 Festival (US).

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