Making of 'Refugees'
Triumphs and Laments Woodcuts
Griffin Art Projects, North Vancouver
Join Master Printer Jillian Ross for studio tours and a virtual talks programme broadcast from her residency at Griffin Art Projects on the assembly of William Kentridge's notable Triumphs and Laments diptych woodblock titled 'Refugees'.
The residency will culminate in an exhibition from May 22 2021 titled The Colander curated by Lisa Baldiserra on Kentridge's artworks sourced from private collections across Western Canada.
Ross has been the Master Printer and Director of the David Krut Workshop in Johannesburg for over 16 years. Ross has collaborated with over 100 South African and international artists producing unique and editioned fine art prints. Ross’ most notable collaboration exists with South African artist William Kentridge.
For the month of February 2021, Ross will be assembling Refugees, a culminating diptych from Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments Woodcuts series. Ross will offer an overview of her work with Kentridge and provide insights into the inner workings of the print shop - which thrives on the principles of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and artistic growth - all made possible through the sale of original prints.
Ross will also offer a fascinating glimpse into the making of Refugees: from the initial drawing performed by the artist, through the projection and tracing, the wood carving, the inking and the printing, to the trimming, assembling and finishing touches!
Jillian Ross at David Krut Workshop, Johannesburg assembling Refugees, with William Kentridge
and Sarah Judge.
Filmed by and courtesy of the Kentridge Studio.
Images courtesy David Krut Workshop
William Kentridge, Triumphs and Laments Woodcuts
2018-19, Diptych 188cm x 350cm (74" x 138")
Published by David Krut Workshop, by collaborating Master Printer Jillian Ross
'Refugees' is represented in Kentridge's Tiber River frieze as a Procession of Migrants in a scene adapted from the relief of the Plutei of Trajan, that depicts the burning of tax records – cumbersome wooden tablets being heaved on the shoulders of a queue of people – during a time of fiscal pardon by the emperor.
A contemporary influence was also apparent in the form of a series of 2012 newspaper photographs of migrants from Rwanda, with the emphasis in the image on the large loads being carried.
Kentridge’s synthesis of contemporary and classical references frustrates a direct reading of the image, with the figures standing in for migrants from any number of countries, carrying any kind of weighty load, longing for release from all manner of plights.
Join Master Printer Jillian Ross for a studio tour and talk broadcast over Zoom from Griffin’s residency studio.
Ross will offer an overview of her work with Kentridge and provide insights into the inner workings of the print shop - which thrives on the principles of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and artistic growth - all made possible through the sale of original prints. Ross will also offer a fascinating glimpse into the woodcut process: from the initial drawing performed by the artist, through the projection and tracing, the wood carving, the inking and the printing, to the trimming, assembling and finishing touches!
In 2016 Kentridge erected an ephemeral frieze of 80 drawings along the walls of the Tiber River in Rome titled Triumphs and Laments. The project offers a reading of the history of Rome through Kentridge’s eyes, highlights its victories and its defeats, and acknowledges that “every triumph has brought a lament in its wake.”
The woodcut series consists of 6 large-scale artworks, each approx. 6 x 6’, that depict scenes from the frieze. Each artwork is made up of multiple printed parts that when assembled, forms the image.
The series is currently traveling with the exhibition Why Should I Hesitate – Putting Drawings to Work, Kentridge’s largest survey exhibition to date. 'Refugees' is featured at Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary African Art), Cape Town in 2019 and currently on view at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg until May 2021.
Previous exhibitions include A Poem that is not our Own, Kunstmuseum Basel (2019). Collections include The Museum of Toledo, The Yale University Art Gallery and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.
Special focus on their making has been emphasized in the publication Prints and Their Makers by Master Printer Phil Sanders, released October 2020.