15 december 2023

zeno writing by william kentridge at videonotte #7. for zeno cosini

starting at 7pm

William Kentridge, Zeno Writing, 2002, film still, courtesy William Kentridge Studio, Johannesburg

The 2023 international video art marathon VideoNotte will take place on Friday 15 December in nine Trieste cultural and exhibition spaces that are active in promoting contemporary art. The seventh edition of this much-loved initiative by Trieste public and organized by Casa dell’Arte in Trieste, with the support of the Kathleen Foreman Casali Charitable Foundation, invites those interested to a nighttime video walk to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Italo Svevo’s La coscienza di Zeno which went to press for Italian publisher Licinio Cappelli in 1923 (Svevo’s novel was firstly translated in English in 1930 with the title “Confessions of Zeno”).
Trieste Contemporanea, Studio Tommaseo and Associazione L’Officina, co-founding members of Casa dell’Arte in Trieste, are offering at VideoNotte #7 for Zeno Cosini – this is the extended title of the 2023 event – the unmissable opportunity to watch William Kentridge’s animated film Zeno Writing, kindly granted for the occasion by the great South African visual artist, film and theatre director and draughtsman whose work deals with stories of violence, erasure, memory and loss.
This part of VideoNotte programme is made possible thanks to the courtesy of the William Kentridge Studio in Johannesburg and that for Italy of Lia Rumma Gallery in Milan and Naples, and thanks to the collaboration of Associazione Viva Comix in Pordenone.
The screening of Zeno Writing is a première for Trieste and is scheduled, from 8 pm until midnight, at Studio Tommaseo in via del Monte 2/1. It will be preceded, at 7:00 pm, by a conversation with art historian Paola Bristot introducing the film made by William Kentridge in 2002 and contextualising the work in the production of the artist, who in fact loves Italo Svevo very much, an author to whom he has dedicated several works throughout his career.

Zeno Writing (2002, 35 mm animated film transferred to video and DVD, 12’’) emerges as a postscript to the theatre piece Confessions of Zeno, based on the novel by Italo Svevo, and produced for documenta 11 (Kassel, 2002). Like the novel and play, the film obliquely renders our faintly desperate attempts to write an unstable world into order, to understand and control what is treacherous and nonsensical. The lines at the end of the film: “Smoke, Ashes, Fable? Where are they all now? Perhaps they are no longer even fable”, are taken from Herodotus, quoted by Ryszard Kapuściński in his book The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat. The film won the Biennial Prize of the 6th Sharjah Biennial in 2003.
Drawings, photography, direction: William Kentridge
Music: Kevin Volans
Sound design: Wilbert Schübel
Editing: Catherine Meyburgh