Kentridge premiers ongoing work

Photo: Supplied HARD AT WORK: William Kentridge works on his art piece, Lampedusa.


The Making of Triumphs and Laments Woodcuts: Mantegna, The Flood, and Lampedusa is an ongoing series of large-scale woodcuts by William Kentridge made in collaboration with David Krut Workshop.

In early 2016, Kentridge was at work on a monumental frieze which was installed along the banks of Rome’s Tiber River in April of the same year. It would be called Triumphs and Laments and would consist of scenes from the cultural and political history of Rome from drawings that Kentridge had been preparing in his studio in Johannesburg for a number of years.

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In January that year, Kentridge also began discussions with a long-time collaborator, master printer Jillian Ross of David Krut Workshop, about using these drawings as the basis for a series of large woodcut prints. Ross and her assistants Sbongiseni Khulu and Chad Cordeiro began extensive tests on a grouping of three figures from the frieze as this would be their first woodcut project with Kentridge. Over the course of the year, the printing team worked on creating and editing the first two woodcuts in the series, Mantegna and The Flood. Early this year saw the completion of the third woodcut, Lampedusa, and work has begun on a fourth image.

Mantegna is based on a group of nine paintings entitled the Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantegna.

Whereas the drawing for Mantegna was based on a series of paintings, the image of The Flood draws its inspiration from a photograph found online of Romans seeking refuge from the devastating effects of the Tiber River flood that ravaged Rome in 1937. The Flood was produced over four months.

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The image Kentridge chose as reference for Lampedusa was a photograph of a group of Eritrean widows taken during a memorial service held in Tel Aviv in 2013 and was produced over four weeks.

Each print is made from multiple blocks of wood, prepared from a variety of wood timbers, and printed on several sheets of paper that, when assembled, fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Some sheets were cut at sharp angles, others were torn. Pieces were also attached to the work by Kentridge in the last stages of production and allowed for overlaps of image and movement.

The project opened on 6 July at David Krut Projects and will be on display until 30 July, with a talk on 22 July.

Details: David Krut Projects 011 880 6368;

Staff Reporter

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