Artist William Kentridge to deliver inaugural Neubauer Collegium lecture on Oct. 3

South African artist William Kentridge, who has earned international acclaim for a versatile body of work that includes animated films, prints, drawings and opera, will deliver a lecture to launch the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago on Oct. 3. The free event, which takes place at 6 p.m. in Mandel Hall, will feature special appearances by members of the Chicago Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center.

Kentridge’s lecture, “Listening to the Image,” will inaugurate the Neubauer Collegium, an ambitious initiative designed to expand the boundaries of humanistic inquiry and focus resources on questions that transcend any single discipline or methodology.


At the event, Kentridge will speak on the practice and theory of making meaning in the studio through an exploration of the relationship of sound and image. The lecture will focus on one of Kentridge’s current projects involving Schubert’s song cycle “Winterreise,” for which he is making films to be performed at the Vienna Festival next year. Kentridge will be accompanied by pianist Craig Terry, music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center, and tenor John Irvin.

David Nirenberg, director of the Neubauer Collegium, said Kentridge’s work mirrors the new center’s collaborative and interdisciplinary spirit.

“The mission of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago is to bring together the finest thinkers from around the world, so it is fitting that William Kentridge is our inaugural visitor. His work takes up deep questions of personal and national history, politics, identity and justice—issues that lie at the heart of what we do in the humanities and social sciences—and explores them from many perspectives and through a rich variety of media,” said Nirenberg, the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought.

“His work exemplifies the values of the Neubauer Collegium, and I am certain his visit will ignite and inspire new ideas in all of us.”

The Neubauer Collegium supports innovative and collaborative UChicago faculty research projects, serves as a destination for outstanding visiting scholars, artists, and practitioners, and pioneers new efforts to engage broad audiences in humanistic scholarship. In its inaugural year, the Neubauer Collegium will support 11 visiting fellows and 18 research projects that tackle complex questions through cross-disciplinary collaboration. Projects range from the ancient world to the modern, experiment with emerging technologies and bring international experts to the University of Chicago for collaboration.

Kentridge is among South Africa’s most celebrated contemporary artists. His diverse body of work includes stop-motion animated films of charcoal drawings, as well as etching, collage, sculpture, and the performing arts, often incorporating themes from South Africa’s apartheid and colonial past, as well as from Kentridge’s life. His work has been featured at Documenta, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Musée du Louvre in Paris. He directed the Metropolitan Opera’s acclaimed production of Shostakovich’sThe Nose in 2010, which returns to the Met in September.

During his visit to campus, Kentridge also will participate in a panel discussion, “Virtues of Bastardy: Mixed metaphors and collaborations in the studio,” with Jane Taylor, a South African writer and frequent visiting professor in English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago. Nirenberg will moderate the event, which will take place at 5 p.m. on Oct. 4 in the Regenstein Library, Room 122.

It is recommended that visitors RSVP for the lecture and panel discussion at the Neubauer Collegium website.

Founded in 2012 as an initiative of the Division of the Humanities and the Division of the Social Sciences, the Neubauer Collegium supports research into complex questions that require expertise and perspectives of many disciplines, while pioneering new efforts to engage a wider public in humanistic scholarship. It also serves as a destination for outstanding visiting scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences from around the world who come to collaborate with their peers at the University of Chicago. The Neubauer Collegium is named in honor of Joseph Neubauer and Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer, whose landmark $26.5 million gift to the University of Chicago in 2012 is among the largest in support of the humanities and social sciences in the institution’s history.