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October 2023


The Great Yes, The Great No
William Kentridge


In 2024 in Aix-en-Provence, France, William Kentridge will be presenting a new theatrical production titled The Great Yes, The Great No. The production follows a boat trip from Marseille to Martinique – a small island that was an important site for many well-known figures including Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, André Breton and Josephine Baker. Using the potential of the boat as a metaphor for power, trade and migration, the production will draw on many of the processes and methodologies that have become central to Kentridge’s work.


Jillian Ross has been working closely with Kentridge since February 2023 to develop a new print series in response to this stage production. 

The prints are jungle-like scenes, which began as ink-drawings and collages from one of the many backdrops of The Great Yes, The Great No, and are layered with insightful texts that relate to many of the production’s themes. One of the drawings, There Were No Books, was photographed and made into photogravure and photopolymer printing plates. These plates were used as a base on which to develop a series of prints. 

COVER IMAGE, William Kentridge, in his studio in Johannesburg, working on a drawing, There Were No Books, that forms part of The Great Yes, The Great No. This mixed media artwork was later photographed and made into photogravure plates at the University of Alberta. These photogravure plates form the basis on which these prints are made. The prints are available in a large and medium formats.

William Kentridge

There Were No Books,


Paint, India Ink, Charcoal,

Coloured Pencil and Collage on paper.

152cm x 178cm

These print projects, created in collaboration between Ross and Kentridge, involve multiple studios and skilled technicians to develop from beginning to end. This project started at

UCal, Berkeley, moved onto the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), found its way to JRP in Saskatoon, Canada, Cone Editions in Vermont, and then onto DKW in Johannesburg, South Africa, all the while working with printmakers with the relevant skill sets to help develop the project into being. ​

For the final stage of the project JRP will install their working print studio in the Connect Gallery at Remai Modern. A visiting audience will witness the creation, process and editioning of these yet unpublished prints through a collaboration between the Kentridge Studio, Jillian Ross Print, the University of Alberta, the David Krut Workshop and Remai Modern. Additionally, the studio-gallery presentation, Live Editions, will showcase prints from JRP's last three years of collaborations between Ross and Kentridge. With over 40 prints on exhibition in various states of completion, Live Editions highlights a print’s evolution from the initial 'first pull' to its 'final state'.

These prints, based on imagery of a gardenscape from The Great Yes, The Great No are being made from a combination of photogravure and photopolymer plates, combined with drypoint and hand painted chine collé by the artist. The large scale prints are pinned and adhered on 12 overlapping sheets of Hahnemühle, Natural White, 300gsm. Chine collé papers include encyclopedia paper from the 1900's, Kitakata, Tosa Washi, Gampi and Nishinouchi Seiki B Nakaban.


Jillian Ross Print, Saskatoon, Canada

Collaborating Printer 

Jillian Ross


University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

               Steven Dixon, Luke Johnson


Cone Editions, Vermont, USA

               Nathanael Kooperkamp

Editioning and image development

Jillian Ross Print

David Krut Workshop

Editioning printers    

Jillian Ross, Sbongiseni Khulu

Kim-Lee Loggenberg-Tim

Roxy Kaczmarek

Sarah Judge and

Jesse Shepstone. 

DKW printers, Jillian Ross and William Kentridge working on the large scale print at Kentridges studio at Arts on Main in Johannesburg. 

Studio walk through of the David Krut Workshop into the Kentridge Studio during the print development. 

- October 2023,

Workshop at the Kentridge Studio, Johannesburg.

January 2023

Workshop at Centre for The Less Good Idea, Season 10 October 2023

Official Trailer

January 2024

The Great Yes, The Great No
Watch the theatrical performance workshops at The Centre For The Less Godd Idea in Johannesburg, South Africa

'The Great Yes The Great No takes a historical escape from Vichy France by, among others, the surrealist André Breton, the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, the Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam, the communist novelist Victor Serge, and the author Anna Seghers, and fictionalizes the journey by adding to the passenger list Aimé Césaire, the Nardal sisters (co-founders with Césaire of the anti-colonial Négritude movement in Paris), the West Indian Marxist philosopher Franz Fanon, Josephine Bonaparte, Josephine Baker, Trotsky, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Stalin.

The ship is captained by Charon, the ferryman of the dead, and the beating surrealist heart of the work is amplified by the voyage’s conflation with other forced sea crossings, historical and contemporary, and by the dissolution of rational languages, verbal and visual. Kentridge deploys and enhances theatrical elements first developed in his film Oh To Believe in Another World, which was made to accompany a Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, including the use of a system of cardboard cutout masks for the different characters, as well as other signature aspects of his unique stylistic approach to visual storytelling.'          Quaternaire

This project is supported by Creative Saskatchewan's

Craft and Visual Arts Production Grant Program

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