William Kentridge – “Universal Archive” linocuts in process

The printers of David Krut Print Workshop, in a collaboration with William Kentridge’s studio team, have been carving and printing linos to create a fascinating new body of work. The linocuts began as a series of small ink drawings on old dictionary pages by William Kentridge, executed using broad and thin paintbrushes. As a result, the images are made up of both solid and very fine lines, typical of the unconstrained virtuoso mark for which Kentridge has become known. The drawings have then been transferred to linoleum plates, painstakingly carved by a team of printmakers, and printed onto pages of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and Chamber’s Encyclopaedia.

As a result of this meticulous mechanical translation of a gestural mark, the linocuts push the boundaries of the characteristics traditionally achieved by the medium. The identical brush mark replication of the linocuts make for intriguing nuances, in contrast with the typical characteristics of the printing method. Furthermore, being non-archival old book pages, the paper has very little absorbency and so the ink sits on the surface with an appealing glossy glow. Many of the images are recurring themes in Kentridge’s art and stage productions, such as the cat, trees, coffee pots and the nude. While some images are obvious, others dissolve into abstracted and Japanese Ukiyo-e brushstroke-inspired suggestions.

To date 46 seperate single images have been created, and will be available as a set. Only two of these sets will br broken up to be available as single images. The balance of some of the single images are being incorporated into works created by combining images on a larger sheet.

Besides these combinations of single images, there are some works which are collages of two or four sheets, complete or torn into sections. There are 4 cats, each one different, but which have been comprised of the same components, torn from 4 sheets and assembled in different ways. There is also a Big Tree which is assembled from 15 whole pages, each printed with a different plate. Because of the overlapping nature of the composite image, there are areas in which a portion of the images has been printed many times on different pages. All pages are attached to the backing paper at the top only by archival double-sided tape, creating a sense of movement, even when the works are framed.

The works are available for purchase on pre-publication basis, with payment required in advance of receiving the work when the balance have been editioned in two to three months time.