Live Virtual Auction, 17 - 18 May 2021
About this Item
Published by Artist Proof Studio, this work was printed from 36 separate plates as an edition of 14 plus 7 proofs, and is presented folded in a clamshell box.
Triumphs and Laments (2016) was a monumental ‘drawing’ project by William Kentridge using large-scale stencils and pressure-cleaning equipment to create images reflecting the artist’s personal interpretation of the history of the city on the walls that line the Tiber River in Rome. Kentridge’s technique was carried out in sequential steps, first from drawings made on paper (in charcoal and then in ink) to their translation on the travertine walls [using a technique] that subtracts the dark layer left on the stone blocks by pollution, vegetation and micro-organisms, through washing around the cut stencils with water. According to the author Gabriele Guercio, the figures’ monumental size (their triumph) is inseparable from their precarious state (their lament) since the frieze will inevitably fade away.1
The original ink wash drawings were later translated into large format prints using 36 brass plates with sugar-lift, aquatint, etching and drypoint techniques, adding layers of tone and nuance to the images, and finally hand-coloured by the artist. The prints are mounted on raw cotton cloth through the etching press, assuming the rough texture of the cloth. The cloth is folded in on itself using the format of a folded map that fits modestly into one’s hands, denying the monumentality of a huge, framed artwork. This paradox echoes what Guercio, describing the Rome frieze, called ‘a desire to experience both the unfolding of time and time itself as unfolding’.2
1. and 2. Gabriele Guercio, in Carlos Basualdo (2018) William Kentridge: Triumph and Laments, Cologne: Walther König.