William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955) 'Head (Green)'
Lot 208*
William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955) 'Head (Green)'
Sold for £73,250 (US$ 123,120) inc. premium
Lot Details
William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
'Head (Green)'
signed and dated 'W Kentridge '92' (lower right) and inscribed 'May 15/5' (lower left); bears gallery label (verso)
drypoint with hand colouring
103 x 79cm (40 9/16 x 31 1/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    With Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York, 2007
    Private collection, North America

    EXHIBITED:
    New York, William Kentridge: Works on Paper from the 1980s and 1990s, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, 1 February - 3 March 2007

    Beginning in 1992, Kentridge produced a series of monumental drypoint prints of a head, with handpainting and torn shards created from varying templates, allowing for incarnations in orange (editioned 1993), blue (editioned 1993-8) and green (1992), though the latter were never editioned. These Heads were printed by master printer Jack Shirreff, assisted by Andrew Smith, at the 107 Workshop in Wiltshire.

    As Erik Denker has articulated, what makes Kentridge's prints unique is that "great variety occurs in what would normally be uniform editions. In a medium known for its often virtually identical multiple originals, he constantly experiments during the printing with changing the marks on the surface, the inking, and the addition of wash and hand-colouring".

    Head (Green) depicts a disassociated male head; his head tilts back and his eyes are closed. Sight and insight, or the lack thereof, is a central theme in Kentridge's work. The subject's upwardly tilting chin exposes the carotid artery in his extended neck in what can be read as a gesture of either submission or strength: it is unclear whether these are eyes closed in defiance, dreaming, or death. In many ways, the Head works read as a formal elaboration of the artist's well-known 1989 drypoint Casspirs Full of Love, though the individual head offers a more elegiac composition and ambivalent message.

    The current lot is one of only three early state proofs of the Head (Green). It was not editioned, unlike the orange and blue versions, making it an extremely rare work.


    BIBLIOGRAPHY:
    E. Denker, 'William Kentridge: Metamorphosis and Memory', in William Kentridge/Oleg Kudryashov: Against the Grain, (Washington D.C., 2009), exhibition catalogue, pp. 9-21, p.10
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