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Preparing the Flute by William Kentridge, Rome, Italy

William Kentridge’s model theatre explores big themes: life, light, darkness and Mozart

Man’s place in the cosmos and the mysteries of creation are lyrically explored in this installation by South African artist and filmmaker William Kentridge. Preparing the Flute (2005) is now in the collection of Rome’s new MAXXI.

Kentridge’s fascination with the theatre inspired him to construct a model of an Italian-style proscenium, which frames a projection of animations based on Mozart’s mystical opera The Magic Flute.

Kentridge describes it ‘a metaphor for the transformation from dark into light’, both through the experience of Mozart’s protagonists and the way in which film captures light and brings imaginary scenes to life. During the Queen of the Night’s famous aria, the miniature theatre becomes a camera obscura, as fireworks and stars erupt across the sky.


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