William Kentridge, ‘General’, 1993, Joanna Bryant & Julian Page

Power-tool engraved polycarbon sheet, on Vélin d'Arches Blanc 300gsm paper.
Printed by Jack Shirreff and Andrew Smith, 107 Workshop.
Published by David Krut.
Created a year before South Africa's first nonracial democratic election, as right-wing opposition escalated and police brutality persisted, General isolates one of Kentridge's heartless protagonists. The vigorous line work here was printed from a rigid polycarbonate sheet the artist incised using an electric engraver. Kentridge made General at a time of escalating violence, a year before South Africa’s first democratic election, in which a newly freed Nelson Mandela was elected president. udith Hecker notes- "Following in the tradition of politically engaged art, the print recalls the satirical depictions of military officers by George Grosz and Otto Dix. While those works savaged the First World War and Hitler, General, despite its regional reference, is a universal symbol for the kind of tyrannical dictator found throughout history and around the globe. Kentridge editioned fifteen prints in black. The matrix was a polycarbonate (rigid plastic) sheet that the artist incised using an electric engraver, which produces lines of tiny dots that hold the ink for printing. The richly inked areas were augmented by master printer Jack Shirreff's varied wipings of the polycarbonate sheet (which is done after inking, before printing) creating markedly different impressions."

About William Kentridge

In his drawings and animations, William Kentridge articulates the concerns of post-Apartheid South Africa with unparalleled nuance and lyricism. In the inventive process by which he created his best-known works, Kentridge draws and erases with charcoal, recording his compositions at each state. He then displays a video projection of the looped images alongside their highly worked and re-worked source drawings. In this way, his process and aesthetic concerns are inextricably linked with the narrative power of his work, as in his “Nine Drawings for Projection” series (1989-2003), which depicts two fictional white South Africans navigating the ambiguities of contemporary South Africa. With his highly personal and often quiet works in seeming tension with the brutality of his content, Kentridge expresses a profound ambivalence about his native country.

South African, b. 1955, Johannesburg, South Africa