* imp. 2019 stands for impression 2019 as this image was created in 1975
Upon contemplation of the collaborative relationship between Kentridge and David Krut, as well as Kentridge’s substantial contribution to printmaking, the David Krut Workshop has revisited two linoleum plates from 1975, some of the first that Kentridge carved after high school, when the extent of the facilities available to him was limited to “lino, cartridge paper and the back of a spoon”. Prior to 2010, they were some of the only examples of linocut work by the artist. Kentridge returned to the medium with great gusto in 2010, beginning with a series of small works depicting various images relating to projects he was working on at the time. This series included his first abstract work, titled Splash, and paved the way for the major linocut series, Universal Archive, which was created in collaboration with the David Krut Workshop over a number of years, beginning in 2011
The linocut plates from 1975 have been in storage at the DKW workshop for some time. Fortunately linoleum sheets do not degenerate over time, as is the case with copper plates. Perhaps as a tribute to the longevity of lino plates, to the linocut as a truly democratic medium of political significance in South African art history, and very much as an appreciation of long-term collaborations, Kentridge suggested that the workshop edition each of the plates.
Pioneer Corps was created by Kentridge as a cover page for an essay he was required to write on African History. The work was originally titled The British South Africa Company Expedition to Matabeleland, and has subsequently been renamed Pioneer Corps. The image depicts Cecil John Rhodes and his team of associates, who planned the crossing of the Limpopo River into Matabeleland, in the region of present-day Zimbabwe, with a view to exercising the mining rights they had obtained from the Ndebele King Lobengula some years earlier.