Traversing Gardens with William Kentridge in the Workshop

Master Printer Jillian Ross and Artist William Kentridge at the artist’s studio at Arts on Main in Johannesburg, October, 2023.

In October 2023, David Krut Projects welcomed  Master printer Jillian Ross and Brendan Copestake from Jillian Ross Print (Saskatoon, Canada), to the Workshop for an exciting collaboration with William Kentridge.

The prints produced are based on Kentridge’s new performance in development: “The Great YES, the Great NO“, co-produced by William Kentridge and The Centre for the Less Good Idea, which will be presented in July, 2024, in Aix-en Provence, France. The production follows a boat trip from Marseille to Martinique – a small island that was an important site for many well-known figures including Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, André Breton and Josephine Baker. Using the potential of the boat as a metaphor for power, trade, migration and more, the production will draw on many of the processes and methodologies that have become central to both Kentridge and The Centre’s ways of working.”

The David Krut Workshop Printers working on the ‘Large Garden’ (working title), at Kentridge’s studio at Arts on Main in Johannesburg, October 2023

The performance centres around a historical escape from Vichy France by, among others, the surrealist André Breton, the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, the Cuban artist Wifredo Lam, the communist novelist Victor Serge, and the author Anna Seghers. The performance fictionalises this journey by including these figures such as Aimé Césaire, the Nardal sisters (co-founders with Césaire of the anti-colonial Négritude movement in Paris), Frantz Fanon, Josephine Bonaparte, Josephine Baker, Trotsky, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and more.

“Kentridge has been working closely with Jillian Ross since February 2023 to develop a new print series in response to this stage production.  The prints are jungle-like scenes, which began as ink-drawings and collages from one of the many backdrops of The Great Yes, The Great No, and are layered with insightful texts that relate to many of the production’s themes.” (Jillian Ross Print)

The image is based on a drawing by Kentridge titled There Were No Books, 2023 (Paint, Indian ink, Charcoal, Coloured pencil and Collage on paper, size: 152 x 178 cm). The drawing will be shown at his upcoming exhibition What Have They Done with All the Air?, 2023, an exhibition of new drawings and sculptures by William Kentridge, at the Goodman Gallery, Cape Town.

William Kentridge, There Were No Books, 2023 Paint, Indian ink, Charcoal, Coloured pencil and Collage on paper, 152 x 178 cm. Image courtesy of the William Kentridge Studio

Jillian Ross arranging panels of one of the versions of the ‘Large Garden’ at the David Krut Workshop (DKW) in Johannesburg, October 2023.

DKW Printer Sarah Judge and Print Assistant Jesse Shepstone printing pieces for chine collé and collage to be added to the ‘Large Garden’.

DKW Printers Roxy Kaczmarek and Sbongiseni Khulu working on the ‘Large Garden‘.

William adding drypoint to one of the photogravure plates that makes up the ‘Large Garden’, Johannesburg, October 2023.

The work has developed into a series of large and small-scale variations made from composite layering in combination of photogravure, plates with added drypoint, photopolymer, with chine collé from Gampi, dictionary, Tosa Washi and Kitakata papers.

The intaglio plates used for the ‘Garden’ imagery were made in Canada and brought to DKW, South Africa, to continue the collaboration with William. The Photogravure plates were made by Steven Dixon and Luke Johnson at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) and the photopolymer plates by Nathaneal Kooperkamp at Cone Editions (Vermont, USA). The plates and images were further developed by Jillian Ross and Kim-Lee Loggenberg-Tim, Sbongiseni Khulu, Roxy Kaczmarek, Sarah Judge and Jesse Shepstone at the David Krut Workshop (Johannesburg, South Africa).

The BAT of one of the versions of the ‘Large Garden’. The BAT represents the final working proof from which the edition will be made for this variation.

Jillian and William working on the ‘Large Garden’ in Kentridge’s studio at Arts on Main in Johannesburg, October 2023.
Details from the ‘Large Garden’ work in progress.

The ‘Large Garden’ variations have travelled back to Canada with Jillian Ross Print for further editioning.

The ‘Small Garden’ (working title) has remained at the David Krut Workshop to be editioned by printers Roxy Kaczmarek and Sbongiseni Khulu.

The workshop is open to the public to visit and see the evolution of the ‘Small Garden’ print along with other current projects. To book an appointment please mail: [email protected] or call +27 (0) 11 880 4242. For more information about available work contact [email protected] .

William working on the versions of the ‘Small Garden’ at the David Krut Workshop, Arts on Main in Johannesburg, October 2023. Observing is Kim-Lee Loggenberg-Tim and Jillian Ross.
Work in progress state of the first version of the ‘Small Garden’. State proofs represent working variations which document the artists creative process and experimentations while the work is being resolved.
DKW printer Kim-Lee Loggenberg collaging pieces for the ‘Small Garden’
Pieces of kitakata and ghampi printed with colour for the second version of the ‘Small Garden’

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