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March 2023

Kentridge, W. Procession II.LR.jpg

Procession I & II
William Kentridge

Kentridge, W. Procession I. 2023. Direct gravure with drypoint on Gampi White (chine collé

Procession I

William Kentridge

Direct gravure with drypoint on Gampi (20gsm) chine collé on Hahnemühle, Natural White, 300gsm

60.8cm x 79.1cm (14” x 12”)


Edition size 20

In the pair of new editions, Procession I and Procession II, Kentridge draws on a well-established trope within his practice. In these prints, an assortment of characters make their way across the composition. As is often the case with Kentridge’s processional figures, the characters are part human, and part a medley of objects and other-than-human fragments – patterned shapes stacked upon one another, orbs and bowls, a tap, a tree.


Both prints feature visual information that hovers above and around the figures – numbers, plotted angles, swinging overhead lamps and a frenzied patch of scratchy vertical lines – like annotations of the conversation between the figures as they walk along, or perhaps their individual thoughts made visible in the air.


In both prints, the collection of figures and the visual information around them is identical, but their surroundings differ, with the procession moving through a landscape containing hills in the distance in one print, while the hills are absent in the other. The prints have been created using two plates – one containing the image of the figures, made using the direct gravure process, with drypoint added later directly onto the plate. The second plate contains aquatint that makes up the tonal areas representing the hilly landscape in the second print.


The subtle shift in the landscape between the images creates the impression that these characters may have been travelling for quite some time together, encountering varying landscapes along the way, and yet their pace is not altered. For Kentridge, there are certain schemas that repeat themselves throughout his oeuvre, and which serve different purposes in his meaning-making endeavour. The procession is one of them, and is a concept or theme that has been reworked many times, often providing a space for exploring ideas about how we understand time, how time marches on, and what we make of what we see when we look back over a period of time, be that the personal time of our own lives, or the more public time that we call history.

In the case of these two prints, the procession also offered a comfortable space in which Kentridge could be spontaneous, creating an image on the spur of the moment, in response to what was happening around him, and other work that was in development at the time. The figures in the procession relate to an ongoing series of bronze sculptures that Kentridge has made in collaboration with Workhorse Bronze Foundry since 2017 and the translation of the figures between media speaks to a multi-directional process that Kentridge uses to work through questions and ideas. Allowing a thought that emerges in one medium to be distilled, refined, or otherwise subjected to the rigours or idiosyncrasies of another, encourages a stretching and complicating of our understanding, and often opens up new avenues of thought at the same time.


This practice of viewing any single idea through multiple lenses and multiple media, and in particular the development in printmaking of images that appear first in drawing, film, sculpture, or any other medium is one that will be explored in depth in Kentridge’s upcoming exhibition at the Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada, in 2024.

- Text by Jacqueline Flint, 2023

Published by Jillian Ross Print and David Krut Projects

Collaborating Master Printer Jillian Ross 

Photogravure by Steven Dixon, Luke Johnson (Edmonton, Canada) 

Editioning and image development at David Krut Workshop (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Editioning printers Sarah Judge and Kim-Lee Loggenberg-Tim

History: In 2020 the technique of photogravure was re-established in Kentridge’s printmaking arsenal. Since then, there have been many photogravure images made, the majority of which came to be through various modes of collaboration with multiple printmaking institutions such as Jillian Ross Print in Canada, the University of Alberta in Edmonton with Steven Dixon and the David Krut Workshop in Johannesburg South Africa.


Procession I, the first print in the series, is made from a single copper plate. For Procession II a second aquatint plate was added to create a tonal mountainous background as well as add tone to the grass below the figure's feet. Kentridge added further drypoint work into the initial Procession plate as well as added handwash details. The two plates are printed in two runs, back-to-back onto Gampi White paper and later adhered to a Hahnemühle Natural paper backing sheet using an archival, plate-based fiber glue called Methyl Cellulose..


The copper plate matrix was made using direct gravure, a technique where Kentridge drew an image onto a frosted acetate film whilst at UC Berkley in 2023. The image was then transferred onto a copper plate using photogravure by Steven Dixon at the University of Alberta. During proofing at DKW in Johannesburg, Kentridge added drypoint to the copper plate. The second copper matrix was made using step-bite aquatint to achieve various tones and create a mountainous backdrop for the figures in procession.


The titles, Procession I and Procesion II, were derived from the 7 sculpture figures that had recently been made around the same time, or just before. Both prints connect multiple works of the same theme in drawing, bronze and film from ongoing projects such as The Great Yes, The Great No, Oh To Believe In Another World and drawings from the series Chiesa di San Francesco Saverio, Palermo Cash Book Drawings (V-VIII). 


These images were made from a drawing based on a set of bronze sculptures titled

7 Figures, made in collaboration with The Workhorse Bronze Foundry in Johannesburg, South Africa.                                                          

                                                                                                   Text courtesy David Krut Workshop

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