William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
Eight Figures signed 'W. Kentridge' (lower right) and numbered '3/40' (lower left) linocut 100 x 256cm (39 3/8 x 100 13/16in).(sheet size)
LITERATURE: R. Krauss, R. Malbert and K. McCrickard, A Universal Archive: Kentridge as Printmaker, (London, 2012), another edition illustrated p.106-7
In this striking linocut evocation of the procession theme, Kentridge peoples the pictorial stage with eight figures. Some are anthropomorphised objects (a walking globe which strides out purposefully), many part of the familiar lexicon of previous projects (a miner with two spades, the windmill woman, Tatlin's Monument to the Third International). Still others "weld body and burden" to create the fusion of subject and object for which the artist is well-known. While some of the characters seem derived from a South African context, the Cyrillic text and Soviet symbols disrupt any contextual certainty. Moreover, these figures "could be disenfranchised victims or bold adventurers, or just hybrid objects/characters set in motion by exterior forces": ambiguity lies at the heart of the work.
As one of the most recent iterations of the procession theme in Kentridge's oeuvre, the current lot reflects the artist's formal experimentation with the linocut medium, using it to simulate the textured archival ground of his works on found paper and encyclopaedia pages.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: K. McCrickard, William Kentridge, (London, 2012), p. 39, 41