William Kentridge



Artist: William Kentridge
Title: Walking Man                                                                        Year: 1989 – 1991
94 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches; 2400 x 1003 mm

Linocut on canvas, 2000, signed and numbered 2/9 in ink verso (only 4 of the intended edition of 9 on canvas were printed, there is an edition of 25 on paper), published by David Krut, Johannesburg, framed.

An avid etcher, William Kentridge also experiments with the technique of linocut. Here he employed the medium’s stark formal qualities and its potential for mesmerizing patterning in the service of his work in the theatre, which at the time involved large-scale props and the processional movement of life-size figures; characters that both carry their possessions and morph into them and their environment. The eight-foot high work calls to mind both antiapartheid marchers and uprooted communities.



In his drawings and animations, William Kentridge articulates the concerns of post-Apartheid South Africa with unparalleled nuance and lyricism. In the inventive process by which he created his best-known works, Kentridge draws and erases with charcoal, recording his compositions at each state. He then displays a video projection of the looped images alongside their highly worked and re-worked source drawings. In this way, his process and aesthetic concerns are inextricably linked with the narrative power of his work, as in his “Nine Drawings for Projection” series (1989-2003), which depicts two fictional white South Africans navigating the ambiguities of contemporary South Africa. With his highly personal and often quiet works in seeming tension with the brutality of his content, Kentridge expresses a profound ambivalence about his native country.

South African, b. 1955, Johannesburg, South Africa