“There are some print technologies and mediums which are really good with alteration – like etching soft copper – as opposed to lithography, for example, altering which is very laborious. In ink wash linocuts, the alteration happens largely before the print is made; many variations, many paintings, things collaged and put together, are then consolidated into the cut. Or one pursues a form of variation where, rather than saying, ‘I need to get one perfect coffee pot,’ you make forty different coffee pots. You take a simple image and see how far it can be reduced to a series of simple calligraphic marks before it disappears. If you start with a relatively naturalistic drawing of a coffee pot, then your brush marks get faster, the thickness of the brush grows, and the number of brushstrokes gets reduced; then, after 15 prints, you end up with something that is only recognizable as a coffee pot if you see the complete series of images. If you came across the final image by itself, it would appear as some kind of unknown Chinese character.”
This commentary by William Kentridge comes from a conversation with Kate McCrickard in A Universal Archive: William Kentridge as Printmaker, published 2012 by Hayward Publishing and David Krut Publishing, page 28.