The Centre for the Less Good Idea

William Kentridge, Bronwyn Lace and more than 30 artists in residency

Location: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, view access map
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About the event

This is the first time the Fondation Cartier is hosting an institution for a residency. It has invited The Centre for the Less Good Idea to relocate from Johannesburg to Paris and occupy all the spaces of the Boulevard Raspail building, from the exhibition rooms to the garden.

Founded in 2016 in Johannesburg (South Africa), The Centre for the Less Good Idea is a space for responsive thinking through experimental, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary arts practices. Both an incubator for artistic projects and a place for creative encounters, it is aimed at young artists – musicians, dancers, playwrights, choreographers and more – from the local and international scene, many of whom hail from the African continent.

Unique in its kind, the methodology and philosophy of The Centre for the Less Good Idea is based on the conviction that pursuing the ‘less good idea’, i.e. the one born on the margins by chance or due to an error, very often paves the way for the most inventive works. Secondary artistic processes, peripheral ideas and incidental discoveries are authorised and encouraged.

“It is a place to play, experiment, fail and try again”, explains Bronwyn Lace. The artists work together to assemble combinations of texts, movements, sounds and images, without any pre-set objective in terms of production or format.

Over the course of the residency, 20 or so artists from South Africa will come together alongside artists from Benin, Belgium, Austria and France, and students from the Fine Arts Department at Université Paris 8 – Vincennes, undertaking collective explorations and sharing their experiences with the public.

Through a creative, festive and collaborative programme, the public will be immersed in The Centre’s creative process. This intense week will open on Tuesday 14 May with the performance lecture and choral work Collapses & Defences. Every evening from Wednesday onward, visitors will be able to attend Showing the Making, a session on the workshops held by the artists during the day, and various interdisciplinary performances, including Pepper’s Ghost, a theatrical illusion technique combining live performance and video projections, as well as Sizendlebe | We are Ears, an experimental musical performance illustrating the complexity of translation.


“If the good doctor can’t cure you, find the less good doctor.” This amusing and grammatically awkward Setswana proverb (translated by Sol Plaatje in his book of 732 proverbs in 1916) goes a long way to describing the interests at The Centre. Secondary pursuits through collective and collaborative artistic process is celebrated at The Centre and it is that to which it gives its attention and resources.The Centre has quickly gathered momentum and by 2024 has become a formative space for arts projects in South Africa and beyond. Between 2016 and 2024 close to 500 individual performances, films and installations have been created and shown and more than 800 artists of all disciplines have worked on projects at The Centre.

William Kentridge

William Kentridge is a draughtsman, performer, filmmaker, and is the founder of The Centre for the Less Good Idea. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kentridge is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, theatre, and opera productions. Embracing collaboration and cross-pollination of various media and genres, including performance, film, literature, and more, his work frequently responds to the legacies of colonialism and apartheid, within the context of South Africa's socio-political landscape. Erasure, play, uncertainty, and a process-led methodology are also central to his practice. A background in theatre, as well as his early experimentations with stop-motion animation continue to inform and characterise much of the work he produces today.

Bronwyn Lace

Bronwyn Lace is a visual artist who has collaborated with William Kentridge on the founding and establishing of The Centre for the Less Good Idea. For Botswana-born Lace, who currently works between Austria and South Africa, her artistic practice is concerned with the relationship between art and other fields such as physics, literature, philosophy, museum practice, education, and more. Site-specificity, responsiveness, and performativity are also central to her practice, and have informed a great deal of her early work. Similarly, a balance between an isolated, introspective studio process and a collaborative, communal process sees Lace embracing incidental discoveries underpinned by an informed pursuit of new ideas.

The Centre for the Less Good Idea

Bruna d’Avila, Brendon Boyd, Laurie Cearley, Thulani Chauke, Noah Cohen, Anathi Conjwa, Julien Faure-Conorton, Pélagie Gbaguidi, Asanda Hanabe, Omid Hashemi, William Kentridge, Bukhosibakhe Khoza, Bronwyn Lace, Katlego Letsholonyana, Nhlanhla Mahlangu, Nthabiseng Malaka, Micca Manganye, David Mann, Athena Mazarakis, Vusi Mdoyi, Tony Miyambo, Dikeledi Modubu, Angelo Moustapha, Teresa Phuti Mojela, Dimakatso Motholo, Zenzele Mthembu, Maya Muratoglu, Neo Muyanga, Marcus Neustetter, Elly Obeney, Joel Rabesolo, Kyle Shepherd, Sbusiso Shozi, Octavia Sonyane, Zain Vally, Meghan Williams and Luc de Wit

Joined by
Betty Tchomanga, The Multicolor Choir, Anna Seiderer and the students from the Université Paris 8, Christine Barte

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