The Great Yes, The Great No
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.
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 Edmonton. These photogravure plates form the basis on which these prints are made.
There Were No Books,
Paint, Indian 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.
These small and large-scale 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 chine collé from gampi, dictionary papers, and kitakata papers. The plates will have drypoint and burnishing added in the coming days.
Jillian Ross Print, Saskatoon, Canada
David Krut Projects, Johannesburg, S.Africa
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Steven Dixon, Luke Johnson
Cone Editions, Vermont, USA
Editioning and image development
Jillian Ross Print
David Krut Workshop
Jillian Ross, Sbongiseni Khulu
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.
20 October 2023, Studio walk through of the David Krut Workshop and into the Kentridge Studio.
more content coming daily.
Workshop 1, January 2023
The Less Good Idea, Season 10, October 2023
'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
The Great Yes, The Great No
Theatrical performance workshops in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This project is supported by Creative Saskatchewan's
Craft and Visual Arts Production Grant Program