Thinking Aloud, The Critique of Light


“I had done a series of extended interviews with the art historian Angela Breidbach for a book called Thinking Aloud, which covered a range of topics from stereoscopy and perspective to the nature of visual metaphor. While talking I had tried to explain points with musings somewhere between a sketch and a diagram—and was left with pieces of paper that were a trace of the process of thinking rather than an illustration of it. These visual musings have a very different feel to the considered drawings that I made when my attention was with the drawings rather than the thoughts. In this series of prints I tried to work in the same way, working almost haphazardly on the copper, the marks being driven by the thoughts behind them. But of course copper is not the same as a scrap of paper, and both the need to think backwards (because of the reversal of the print as it goes through the press), and the resistance of the material to the drypoint needle, meant that the images ended up somewhere between the lightness of the sketches done during the interviews, and the more considered images that would usually be on an etching plate.

The images were made at the time I was working on The Magic Flute, so there are a lot of references to the opera in the series. There is an image of the quantum perspective you get with Baroque scenery, a perspective which situates the eye at a high vantage point; orbits of planets, which I think was a reference to the disordered universe of the Queen of Night; an image about Cockney rhyming slang; and several references to photographic positives and negatives. There was a specific thought behind each image, but for many of them I now have scant idea what it was. In all of them it is more the leaps and connections, a reinforcement of half-formed ideas rather than a particular illustration.”


REFERENCE: William Kentridge, in William Kentridge Prints, edited by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, published by David Krut Publishing, 2006, p144.


Thinking Aloud, The Critique of Light

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Edition Size:

Image Height:
40 cm

Image Width:
50 cm

Sheet Height:
54 cm

Sheet Width:
64 cm



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