William Kentridge’s Nose

William Kentridge, ensemble (Variation) Costume maquettes for The Nose, 2011

When I approached the William Kentridge stand at the Melbourne Art Fair, I thought “he’s merchandising. Maybe I can afford one of these maquettes!” No such luck, it’s a complete set of 34 for $88000.

Kentridge routinely thrills me, it’s almost boring. It is hard to name the reasons. Saying it has soul is lame, but maybe it is something like that. It’s also the fun of watching a vivid, original mind in the body of an ordinary looking middle-aged man – there is something reassuring in that.

The maquettes are part of the extensive project called The Nose, about the early Soviet era. They are made of wood, cotton paper, steel, wood stain, crayon, the most ordinary materials, but how magic they are.

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