In 1999 William Kentridge printed a series of images from vinyl records called The Living Language. The series arose out of a conversation Kentridge had with fellow artists Claire Gavronsky and Rose Shakinovsky “on the skills of inking and wiping an etching plate” (in William Kentridge Prints, DKP 2006). Kentridge, Shakinovsky and Gavronsky set a task of printing from a vinyl record, to discover which techniques produced the clearest print.
In 2012 and 2013, working with Master Printer Jillian Ross, Kentridge began a number of small editions of drypoint etched vinyl records.
In 2019 Kentridge and Ross revisited these record prints, which had been preserved at the David Krut Workshop at Arts on Main, pending Kentridge doing further work on them. The vinyl records proved too fragile for further engraving, and it was decided that the prints done by Ross those years ago would be finalised and published. The post-editioning process (including cropping, grouping, numbering and signing) was finally completed in 2021 by Kim-Lee Loggenberg after the Covid Lockdown, as Ross had returned to Canada after 17 years of mentoring and collaboration with Kentridge and David Krut.
In each print the image of the record has a 25 cm diameter, with a paper size of 26 x 35 cm. Printed on Hahnemühle 300gsm paper, the edition sizes are between 6 and 8.