eight stylized figures walking along a ramp from left to right; figures second and third from left and second from right carry, are encircle by or are made up of tower-like openwork forms; fourth figure from left has a large black X for head; fourth figure from right carries two shovels; third figure from right has a windmill for a head; bare fluorescent lights above figures; text in English and Russian on edge of ramp at bottom

© William Kentridge. All rights reserved.

Eight Figures, 2010

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2018 Accession Highlight

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.

eight stylized figures walking along a ramp from left to right; figures second and third from left and second from right carry, are encircle by or are made up of tower-like openwork forms; fourth figure from left has a large black X for head; fourth figure from right carries two shovels; third figure from right has a windmill for a head; bare fluorescent lights above figures; text in English and Russian on edge of ramp at bottom

© William Kentridge. All rights reserved.

Because of © restrictions, we can only show you a small image of this artwork.