© William Kentridge. All rights reserved.
Linocut with hand-painting in Indian ink on Hahnemühle paperexpand_more
Proceeds from the Minneapolis Print and Drawing Fair and gift of funds from Mary and Bob Merskyexpand_more 2017.63
Processions recur regularly in William Kentridge’s graphic work, typically as critiques of the injustices and follies of modern society. In Eight Figures, the characters all wear or carry an attribute symbolizing their identity and social role: miner, farmer, medical professional, architect, and porter. They move from left to right along a narrow wooden ramp or boardwalk in an ambiguous interior space bathed in artificial light. The background includes vaguely outlined figures, floating numbers, and vertical lines segmenting the space. For Kentridge, the procession is a metaphor for society’s collective journey, a passage through life that requires critique and self-evaluation. Yet in his satirical commentary on the brutality, ignorance, and absurdity of modern life there is a hopeful outlook.
William Kentridge is internationally acclaimed for his powerful expressions of universal social and political themes. Eight Figures is a highly important example of this graphic work. Its large scale, complex imagery, and conceptual heft exemplify the characteristics of Kentridge’s most influential works. Its subject—the procession—ranks among the artist’s best-known and most intriguing themes. This print greatly enhances Mia’s holdings of Kentridge’s work while also improving the museum’s growing collection of contemporary prints by international artists.