Six Drawing Lessons, William Kentridge, 2014 

When we heard Kentridge deliver the Norton Lectures in Sanders Theater at Harvard in 2014, I was impressed by two things—the sheer brilliance of his construction, thought, and message and the total impossibility of translating those lectures into a book as is always done with the Norton Lectures.  Once again, Kentridge has amazed!  The book captures the beauty, creativity, humor and depth of thought of the lectures quite successfully as Kentridge moves deftly from illusion in Plato’s Cave to the tension between fate and free will, stopping along the way to comment on European colonialism in Africa, the geologic origin of Johannesburg, and the process of creation in the artist’s studio.  Time and the struggle to communicate due to the inadequacy of language are central themes focused on the need to make sense of the world using all possible means.  The studio is the site where the artist turns thought into action, where ideas and materials collide.  Mozart’s The Magic Flute, the myth of Perseus, Rilke’s The Panther all appear, especially the latter with the panther’s walk around his cage as ‘a dance of strength around a centre where a mighty will was put to sleep’, the ends of his walk being Ithaca and Troy.  A splendid accomplishment by a polymath artist and exceptional human being!