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Life in Print: William Kentridge and Pablo Picasso

This exhibition brings together two of the most prolific and innovative artists of the 20th and 21st centuries: Pablo Picasso and William Kentridge. Remai Modern is thrilled to present Kentridge’s Universal Archive alongside selections from Remai Modern’s comprehensive holding of Picasso’s linocuts. The exhibition highlights remarkable parallels between the two artists including a prolific practice, multi-disciplinary approach to artmaking, and personas that precede the work. They are also brought together in this exhibition by their extraordinary ability to pivot the medium of linocut through absolute trust in the potential of collaboration and experimentation.

Event/Exhibition meta autogenerated block.


Picasso Gallery

Life in Print: William Kentridge and Pablo Picasso is organized by Remai Modern, thanks to the generous loan of the previously curated exhibition, William Kentridge’s Universal Archive presented at The Gund at Kenyon College. This loan is also possible thanks to the generosity of David Krut Projects, Johannesburg/New York.

The Universal Archive Series (2011 – 2015)

The Universal Archive began as small ink drawings Kentridge created while developing his Norton lecture series for Harvard University. Carved meticulously in linocut by a team of printers led by Jillian Ross at David Krut Workshop in Johannesburg, the works are printed on non-archival dictionary papers. The result is an illusion of effortlessness achieved with luscious ink unabsorbed by aging papers. The Universal Archive incorporates themes from Kentridge’s productions (cats, coffeepots, nude figures), and addresses both his musings and his mistrust of certain objects. The Universal Archive originated as skepticism about certainty in art processes, a thread continuous to his practice and one that reappears in his Studio Life Gravures series, as an examination of the creative process.

The Picasso Collection at Remai Modern

Remai Modern houses the most comprehensive collection of linocuts by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). This focused and specialized collection includes editioned prints, working states and experimental proofs that provide insight into the artist’s process. All of Picasso’s linocuts were produced in a 17-year period between 1951 and 1968, with master printer, Hidalgo Arnera (1922-2007).

About the Artists

William Kentridge (b.1955)

From drawing to opera, Kentridge’s practice encompasses virtually every aspect of every medium, drawing the viewer in through the materials and confronting them with messaging of colonial devastations and the long-lasting effects of apartheid that plague South Africa. As a South African, Kentridge draws from what he sees every day; mine tailings surrounding Johannesburg, racial and economic disparity and a society that still exists in segregation. Perhaps it is the magnitude and the complexity of the unrest that causes him to seek out multiple mediums to illustrate the message, whilst weaving the beauty of the country and the people through his work.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

An astonishingly prolific artist, Picasso was best known for his paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and prints. Picasso carved his own path in artmaking and in life; aware of conventions and at all times eager to challenge them. Whatever the medium, Picasso was sure to invent new ways of using it.