William Kentridge «Journey to the Moon» 2003-05.
Co-titled Day for Night and Seven Fragments for Georges Méliès, 2003, and Journey to the Moon, 2003, for Venice Biannual 2005; all filmed in 16 mm and 35 mm and projected in loop on DVD. The nine short films screened in different sizes - two very large projections occupy almost a full wall each, while the other walls have smaller dyptic and tryptic projections forming closely connected narratives. The titles refer to the early film visionary Georges Méliès, whose original Journey to the Moon was made in 1902.
In Fragments for Georges Méliès and Journey to the Moon Kentridge combines performance, film and animation in an homage to the beginning of film making and to French film maker George Méliès' magical experimentations. Although Méliès' films had many subjects - with a predilection for devils, romantic classics and conjuring tricks performed in front of the camera - the central subject is always Méliès, the artist using the images he has made to try and see himself. Day for Night incorporates the filming of 'drawings' made by ants crawling across paper lined with sugar, which when printed in negative turn into visions of the galaxy. Media Release, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art.
About Journey to the Moon William Kentridge writes:
«A bullet-shaped rocket crashes into the surface of the moon, a fat cigar plunged into a round face. When I watched the Méliès film for the first time at the start of this project, I realized that I knew this image form years before I had heard of Méliès. I was far advanced in the making of the fragments for Méliès. I had resisted any narrative pressure, making the premise of the series, what arrives when the artist wanders around his studio. What arrived was the need to do at least one film which surrendered to narrative push.»
Day for Night originates from an exercise of filming ants in the artist's studio, while working on the films of Méliès:
Kentridge: «At this stage I was working on Journey to the Moon the penultimate and most complicated of the Méliès pieces, when it struck me that I could reverse the film and use the ants for some of the night sequences in the journey.»