Woodcut and collage with Ledger paper* and aluminium pins onto Somerset velvet 300gsm
65 x 50.5 cm [25.59 x 19.88 inches]
Variable edition of 44, signed and numbered recto.
*The Ledger paper in this edition is unique and varies in each collage
About the work
To accompany his major exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, William Kentridge has a created a variable edition of 44 collaged works. For Kentridge this edition is an ‘objet trouve’, comprised of separate drawings from two recent projects, which were pinned to the artists studio wall. The ink splash is from his recent opera Lulu and the slogan from Kentridge’s Notes Towards A Model Opera, a project on the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
The ink splash recurs frequently in Kentridge’s work, both animated in his films and in his works on paper. For Kentridge gesture acts as narrative. Always monochrome, the mark is a character from traditional Chinese calligraphy, an expression of zen mindfulness, or the distraction of spilt coffee.
Kentridge often uses repositories of information like dictionaries or encyclopedias as the background for his prints and drawings. Printed onto individual pages of ledger paper, dated from the 1920’s, each work is subtly different and features minutiae of calculations, marking the slow progression of advancing time.
Kentridge’s epigrammatic slogans recall those used during Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution to stir the masses to thought and action. Typically serious and playful, Kentridge’s edition mingles the absurd with the coherent; the incongruity of the ink splash, reproduced as a carefully printed woodcut, the ledger notes quietly asserting exactness, with the lament for “Yesterday’s good idea”.
About the artist
William Kentridge (b. 1955, Johannesburg) is renowned for his animated expressionist drawings and films exploring time, the history of colonialism and the aspirations and failures of revolutionary politics. Kentridge grew up in South Africa witnessing the end of apartheid, and South African society and politics are recurring themes which appear throughout his body of work. Kentridge’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including Documenta in Kassel, Germany (1997, 2003, 2012), Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy (1993, 1999, 2003, 2015), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1998, 2010), the Musée du Louvre in Paris (2010) and Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2016).
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