William Kentridge’s ‘A Poem is not your Own’ features the Triumphs and Laments Woodcut series, Kunst Museum, Basel

“Designed in close consultation with the artist, the exhibition showcases early graphic art and films from the 1980s and 1990s as well as examples of Kentridge’s more recent output, including the first adaptations for museum presentation of elements from The Head & The Load, which premiered at the Tate Modern, London, in the summer of 2018.”

Triumphs and Laments Woodcut series, ‘A Poem That is Not Our Own’, 2019, Basel, Switzerland
Refugees, 2018-2019, Relief, printed from 26 woodblocks on Somerset Velvet, Soft White, 300 gsm. Final work comprised of 77 individual sheets adhered by 136 aluminum pins. Edition of 12. Dimensions 188 x 350cm

The exhibition features the full suite of 6 large-scale woodcuts made in collaboration with Master Printer Jillian Ross and the David Krut Workshop. The most recent in the series, a diptych titled Refugees (1 God’s Opinion is Unknown; 2 Leaning on Air) was recently completed for the exhibition. Read more about the making of the woodcut here.

“A sumptuous production involving film projections, shadow play, and an ensemble of performers, the sprawling procession, which defies conventional genre boundaries, sheds light on a neglected chapter of history: Africa’s role in World War I. Taking up three exhibition floors at the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart, the presentation balances additional major video installations such as More Sweetly Play the Dance and Shadow Procession with selections from Kentridge’s graphic oeuvre properly speaking.”

“In Praise of Folly (2018), the title of Drawing Lesson No. 50, which makes its debut in Basel, is borrowed from the satirical speech that Erasmus of Rotterdam penned in 1509, a biting critique of the Catholic Church. The humanist scholar is a major figure in the history of Basel, where he taught at the university and is buried. Sketches by the artist that can be made out in the background in the film quote Hans Holbein’s Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam, one of the most cherished treasures in the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel’s municipal art collection. The attentive viewer can also spot sketches after other well-known works in the Kunstmuseum’s collection, including by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Matthias Grünewald, that grace the walls of Kentridge’s atelier like icons. In light of these works, In Praise of Folly addresses art history and the masters of the past as a source of creative inspiration for the artist working today.” To read more about the exhibition go here.

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