Osborne Samuel Gallery

William Kentridge's Sleeper Series

William Kentridge's Sleeper Series

William Kentridge

The Sleeper series speaks to one of Kentridge’s main themes, the desire to forget or shield oneself from challenging or problematic realities of history and the present day. Works such as the Sleeper series explore the white South African psyche and the relationship to it’s history of exploitation during the period in which the system of apartheid was first contested and then dismantled. Sleep here stands for the state of ‘blissful ignorance’, a preoccupation with the internal and domestic, allowing the public and political world to be forgotten. However a sleeper will always wake, and it is this moment of self-knowledge and recognition that Kentridge returns to in his work.
Sleeper I, 1997
Etching, aquatint and drypoint, from 2 copper plates, on Vélin d’Arches Blanc 300gsm paper
Printers proof aside from the edition of 30
Signed lower right. Inscribed `Proof' lower left
Sheet size: 97 x 193 cm

Sleeper Red, 1997
Etching, aquatint and drypoint, from 2 copper plates, on Vélin d’Arches Blanc 300gsm paper
Printers proof aside from the edition of 50
Signed and inscribed in pencil
Sheet size: 97 x 193 cm

Sleeper Black, 1997
Etching, aquatint and drypoint on paper, from 2 copper plates, on Vélin d’Arches Blanc 300gsm paper
Artists proof aside from the edition of 50 (only 20 printed)
Signed and inscribed `EA'
Sheet size: 97 x 193 cm

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Image Credit:

courtesy of Osborne Samuel Gallery

The ‘Ubu Tells the Truth’ etchings were the starting point for a theatre production ‘Ubu & the Trust Commission’ (1997). The Sleeper prints were made after the theatre production was completed. I had worked on a series of messy drawings of a naked man, sometimes enclosed by the white Ubu line drawing, trying to get some of the feel of the theatre production in them. With the first set of drypoints I had used a thumbprint and printed the heel of my hand to suggest the flesh texture. With the large drawings one has to pull shape and texture into the drawing on a larger scale. I wheeled a bicycle across the paper, hit with a charcoal-impregnated silk rope, invited children and cats to walk over it, spattered it freely with pigment. The Sleeper prints used a range of materials and objects placed in soft ground to try to effect the same damage upon the paper.

William Kentridge (p.66 William Kentridge Prints, David Krut Publishing)

William Kentridge

Sleeper I

1997

97 x 193 cm

Etching, aquatint and drypoint on paper, from 2 copper plates, on Vélin d’Arches Blanc 300gsm paper

75b1be_0f3b5ea822434416b34254f9234e6390~mv2.jpg

William Kentridge

Sleeper Black

1997

97 x 193 cm

Etching, aquatint and drypoint on paper, from 2 copper plates, on Vélin d’Arches Blanc 300gsm paper

75b1be_75d5d676a97642bfa2e79370adc161fe~mv2.jpg

Sleeper Red at Art Miami

William Kentridge

Sleeper Red

1997

97 x 193 cm

Etching, aquatint and drypoint on paper, from 2 copper plates, on Vélin d’Arches Blanc 300gsm paper

75b1be_43f5eeb6640942799a7bf4414b4166f3~mv2.jpg

Sleeper I at Art Miami

William Kentridge (South African, b.1955) is a filmmaker, draughtsman, and sculptor, and the son of Sydney Kentridge, one of South Africa''s foremost anti-apartheid lawyers. After studying politics and African history at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from 1973 until 1976, Kentridge studied Fine Art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation (1976–1978) and the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. His interest in theater—specifically in acting and design—influenced his artistic style and inspired a desire to connect film and drawing. Kentridge''s drawings, usually rendered using pastels and charcoal, were often created as studies for animated films.

His work was further inspired by artistic satirists, including Honoré Daumier (French, 1808–1879), Francisco de Goya (Spanish, 1746-1828), and William Hogarth (British, 1697-1764). By the 1990s, Kentridge had established an international audience and reputation. His works have been exhibited in solo exhibitions at many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Since the 1980s, Kentridge has been awarded various prizes, such as the Kaiserring Prize, the Carnegie Prize, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award, and the Red Ribbon Award for Short Fiction. He currently lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Osborne Samuel Gallery

can be reached at:

+442074937939

23 Dering Street, London, W1S 1AW