LIVERPOOL.- 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 artists 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 Kentridges 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 Kentridges 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 Kentridges 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 33rpm LPs; Telephone Lady and Walking Man (both 2000), two surreal lifesized 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 smallscale prints inspired by the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogols 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.
This exhibition coincides with an exceptionally productive period in the artists career. William Kentridge: Five Themes opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2009 and has shown at major museums worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, galleries in Paris, Vienna, Jerusalem and Moscow, and most recently at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne in 2012. His production of Mozarts The Magic Flute at La Scala in Milan and his presentation of Shostakovichs The Nose at New Yorks Metropolitan Opera in Spring 2010, were widely praised. In 2012, William Kentridge gave the Norton Lectures at Harvard and presented a new multimedia video installation The Refusal of Time in Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany.