William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955) Orange head 103 x 79cm (40 9/16 x 31 1/8in) plate size.

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Lot 8AR
William Joseph Kentridge
(South African, born 1955)
Orange head 103 x 79cm (40 9/16 x 31 1/8in) plate size.

Sold for £ 40,250 (US$ 54,292) inc. premium
William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
Orange head
signed 'W Kentridge' (lower right); numbered '6/15' (lower left)
drypoint with hand colouring
103 x 79cm (40 9/16 x 31 1/8in) plate size.

Footnotes

  • Literature
    K. Geers (ed.), Contemporary South African Art - The Gencor Collection, Johannesburg, 1997, another of the edition illustrated on the front cover.
    B. Law-Viljoen (ed.), William Kentridge Prints, Johannesburg, 2006, another of the edition illustrated p.46.
    B. Law-Viljoen (ed.), Art and Justice: The art of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johannesburg, 2008, another of the edition illustrated p.139.


    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, and published by David Krut Fine Art, London.

    As Erik Denker articulates, 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".

    The present lot depicts a disassociated male head, tilted back, eyes closed. 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 his eyes are closed in defiance, dreaming, or death.

    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.
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