Lockdown presented Kentridge with the major challenge of being isolated from collaborators and support teams, making his usual way of working
impossible, and perhaps transporting Kentridge back to a time when his studio, and his time, was more his own.
In order to appreciate the nature of the collaborations that have led to Kentridge’s new series of photogravures, beginning in one studio – Kentridge’s own – and moving between a number of others, it is useful to recognise the significance of the studio in Kentridge’s practice. On this
subject, he has written extensively and with great nuance. The following passage, although it was written in relation to the Triumphs & Laments
project specifically, offers an astute insight:
“The studio always involves practical matter, the paper on the wall, the angle of the spotlight on the stage, the hardness of the charcoal on the paper. But more than this, the studio involves thinking through the material, thinking with your hands, thinking with charcoal, with the movement of an actor – not to illustrate an idea, not even to find the answer to a question, posed as an idea, but, at its best, to find the questions themselves.”
During this early stages of the pandemic, Kentridge turned inward, thinking deeply about his studio and the ideas and processes that arise from it as a way to document his experience of lockdown and quarantine. He began by documenting his studio at his home in Houghton using his iPhone camera, producing images that reveal the artist’s fragility and vulnerability during this time. Two images in the Studio Life series of photogravures come from this time, those being Studio Life: Phillips Room, and the acutely intimate Studio Life: Felicia Ida Felicia.