History of the Main Complaint is the sixth work in William Kentridge’s landmark Drawings for Projection series of innovative stop-motion films made from meticulously rendered and erased charcoal drawings. This animation is constructed from a body of approximately twenty-one drawings. Created shortly after the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995, the piece investigates the complicated legacy of South Africa’s Apartheid system by tracing a journey through the conflicted unconscious of its white protagonist, Soho Eckstein.
William Kentridge was born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he continues to live and work today. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a degree in politics and African studies and studied at the Johannesburg Art Foundation. Combining disciplines including film, drawing, puppetry, and theater, Kentridge uses his personal experiences of South Africa’s turbulent history as a basis for his work. The artist examines the psychological impact from having witnessed political and racial turmoil and social conflict, speaking to events particular to his native country and to more universal experiences. Major solo exhibitions of Kentridge’s work have been mounted at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Moderna Museet in Stockholm; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work has also been included in notable group exhibitions such as Prospect. 1 New Orleans in 2008; the Sydney Biennale in 1996 and 2008; Documenta X in 1997 and XI in 2002, Kassel, Germany; and the 1999/2000 Carnegie International.