William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
'Walking man' signed and inscribed 'W. Kentridge Studio Proof' (lower left) linocut 256 x 100cm (100 13/16 x 39 3/8in).(sheet size) published by David Krut Fine Art
LITERATURE: J. Hecker, William Kentridge: Trace: Prints from the Museum of Modern Art, (New York, 2010), another edition illustrated plate 13 J. Hecker, Impressions from South Africa: 1965 to Now, (New York, 2011), another edition illustrated p.28 R. Krauss, R. Malbert and K. McCrickard, A Universal Archive: Kentridge as Printmaker, (London, 2012), another edition illustrated p.65 K. McCrickard, William Kentridge, (London, 2012), another edition illustrated p. 38
During the period in which this rare linocut was made, the artist was exploring the possibilities of scale: the work - for which the current lot is a studio proof - was editioned on South Africa's largest press. The piece was created after Kentridge was commissioned to create a life-sized linocut for the exhibition Self at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival. The exhibition, organised by Clive van den Bergh, aimed to celebrate and reinvigorate South Africa's long tradition of working with the medium by inviting prominent contemporary artists to contribute a linocut. An edition of Walking Man was also included on the landmark exhibition Impressions from South Africa: 1965 to Now at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2011, which explored the popular print tradition in South Africa.
The linocut medium allows for crisp lines, stark contrasts and captivating patterns which draw the eye on multiple journeys, from the horizontal grain of the background to the sample-like stitching of the suit and the hypnotic patterns of rustling foliage on the branches. The work embodies the artist's interest in the formal and thematic possibilities of transformation: a coffee plunger becomes an elevator hurtling down a mine shaft; a man becomes a megaphone. Literary antecedents include Ovid's Metamorphoses, the narrative poem which presents a mythico-historical account of the world as a series of transformations. As Kate McCrickard suggests, "Two monumental linocuts from 2000, Telephone Lady and Walking Man turning into a Tree, bring Ovid's ancient tales of transformation into Kentridge's world... Kentridge's version of Daphne turning into a laurel tree is male and wears a suit, [and is] running away into a flat plain scattered with pylons".
Editions of this print appear in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), as well as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: K. McCrickard, William Kentridge, (London, 2012), p.39 J. Hecker, William Kentridge: Trace: Prints from the Museum of Modern Art, (New York, 2010), p.13, p.61