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A UNIVERSAL ARCHIVE: William Kentridge as Printmaker

7 December 2012 – 3 February 2013

A Universal Archive: William Kentridge as Printmaker, a Hayward Touring exhibition opening at the Bluecoat, Liverpool, will be the first UK exhibition to focus solely on the internationally renowned South African artist’s prints.

This major exhibition will include 100 prints in all media dating from 1988 to the present, ranging in scale from intimate etchings and drypoints to linocuts measuring 2.5 metres high. New works from Kentridge’s ongoing series Universal Archive, including Cat Assemblage (2012) and 12 Coffee Pots (2012), will be shown in Britain for the first time.  With a stress on experimental and serial works, this exhibition will highlight Kentridge’s distinctive use of light and shadow and silhouettes, his concern with memory and perspective, and his absorption in literary texts.

Highlights of the exhibition include Art in a State of Hope and Art in a State of Siege (both 1988), early silkscreens which mark Kentridge’s transition from designing posters for political protests and theatre productions into fine art printmaking; Living Language (1999), a series of experimental drypoint prints on vinyl LPs; Telephone Lady and Walking Man (both 2000), two surreal life-sized figures in linocut; Portage (2000), an accordion-folded book spanning 4 metres, with silhouetted figures collaged onto pages of the French encyclopedia Le Nouveau Larousse Illustré; Nose (2007-2010), a series of thirty small–scale prints inspired by the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol’s story ‘The Nose’.

Acclaimed for his animated films, drawings, theatre and opera productions, Kentridge started his career studying etching at the Johannesburg Art Foundation, and printmaking has remained central to his practice ever since. In the past two and a half decades he has produced more than 400 prints, including etchings, engravings, aquatints, silkscreens, linocuts and lithographs; often experimenting with challenging formats and a combination of techniques. 

Bryan Biggs, Artistic Director at the Bluecoat, said: ‘We are delighted to be the fist venue to host this important exhibition by one of the world’s leading artists, for whom drawing is at the heart of his art practice and pushing the possibilities of printmaking is a continuing concern.  The exhibition also connects to the Bluecoat’s own printmaking studios, where there will be activities alongside a programme of talks’. This events programme is listed below.

For further PRESS information please contact Phil Bridges, Communications Officer on 0151 702 7769. 

Listings Information.

William Kentridge as Printmaker exhibition events:

Events Programme (all events free)

Sat 8 December 2pm

Exhibition tour

The Bluecoat’s Exhibitions Curator, Sara-Jayne Parsons, and Print Studio Manager, Emma Gregory, discuss Kentridge’s work from an art historical perspective and discuss the extraordinary range of print processes he and his master printers employ.

Sat 19 January 2pm

Exhibition tour

Alan Jones, an artist based at the Bluecoat, and our Artistic Director, Bryan Biggs, discuss Kentridge’s work in the gallery.

Thu 24 January 6pm

Kentridge in Context: an evening with Derek Attridge

Derek Attridge discusses Kentridge’s work in relation to contemporary South African literature. A respected author on the subject, Derek is Professor of English at University of York. His books include Cambridge History of South African Literature (co-edited with David Attwell) and J. M.Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading: Literature in the Event.

Sun 27 January 2pm

Gallery talk with Kate McCrickard

Leading Kentridge expert Kate McCrickard offers insights into his work. She is author of a monograph on him in the Tate Modern Artists’ series, has interviewed him for the catalogue of the current exhibition, and published his work when she was director of David Krut Projects, New York. Kate also leads a monotype workshop in our printmaking studio on Saturday 26th (visit Bluecoat website for details)

Sat 2 February 2 – 5pm

Open print making studios

William Kentridge uses a wide range of printmaking techniques. Visit our two print studios for demonstrations of processes including sugarlift, drypoint, spitbite, screen printing and lino-cutting.




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