Framing Feature: Frames and Stretchers Solves a Puzzling Masterpiece by William Kentridge

Posted on May 07, 2016 by Erick Rios


Mantegna Masterpiece by William Kentridge Always up for a challenge, our fearless framers recently faced the most complex kind of mounting ever taken on by Frames and Stretchers. 

David Krut Projects (DKP), an international gallery with locations in New York City, Johannesburg and Cape Town, needed us to frame a monumental 78” x 78” piece by William Kentridge. In 2002, DKP established David Krut Workshop (DKW), an experimental etching studio where master printer, Jillian Ross, collaborates with artists to produce pieces artists are unable to complete in their own studios. Kentridge was one such artist who teamed up with Ross to create this stunning woodcut print and companion work to the highly acclaimed reverse graffiti “Triumphs and Laments” — a 550m frieze on Rome’s Tiber embankment. 

“Triumphs and Laments” by William Kentridge— a 550m frieze on Rome’s Tiber embankment.
“Triumphs and Laments”, William Kentridge

"For the woodcut, entitled Mantegna, Kentridge extrapolated a scene of three figures from the frieze, which is based on a famous series of paintings by Italy’s leading Renaissance painter and printmaker, Andrea Mantegna. The series is called The Triumphs of Caesar (1484-1492) and depicts Caesar’s army triumphant from battle, parading their spoils of war through the streets of the Eternal City" - Jessie Cohen, DKP writer and researcher

Andrea Mantegna\
Image courtesy of David Krut Projects

Preparing the woodcut for Mantegna
Image courtesy of David Krut Projects

William Kentridge Images for the mural reverse graffiti
Image courtesy of David Krut Projects

Entitled “Mantegna, 2016” and composed of 12 wood blocks, 10 printed sheets of different paper sizes and 10 torn sheets (all meant to overlap), and 36 pins for paper placement, DKP expected a precise installation at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in NYC. With no time to spare and a 50-page instruction manual detailing its uniquely complicated assembly, our team relished the learning opportunity and welcomed the test of skill.

Preparing for the William Kentridge Print installation

Frames and Stretchers installed Mantegna Masterpiece by William Kentridge

We studied the carefully composed manual for hours, absorbing every detail prepared by Ross so we could properly hinge this puzzling masterpiece. All hands were on deck.

Frames and Stretchers installed Mantegna Masterpiece by William Kentridge at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in NY

Frames and Stretchers installed Mantegna Masterpiece by William Kentridge at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in NY

Frames and Stretchers installed Mantegna Masterpiece by William Kentridge at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in NY

And finally, after 4 hours of meticulous arrangement, it was hinged to perfection. And it is certainly a sight to behold.

Frames and Stretchers installed Mantegna Masterpiece by William Kentridge at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in NY
Image courtesy of David Krut Projects

Frames and Stretchers installed Mantegna Masterpiece by William Kentridge at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in NY
"Mantegna", William Kentridge. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects

But if you’ve had to miss the fair this year, don’t fret — you can catch Kentridge’s prolific pair of pieces at the Johannesburg Art Fair on September 9-11. Our team may take a work field trip just to see it again!

More about the artist…

William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1955, where he later witnessed the dissolution of apartheid — a profound source of inspiration to his work. In his efforts to represent the myriad of ways in which people construct the reality of political events through their eyes, Kentridge uses a myriad of art forms: film, drawing, sculpture, animation, and performance. His now-signature technique employs progressive photographs, later turned into animated films, of his charcoal drawings and paper collages, recording scenes as they evolve with planned additions and erasures. Kentridge’s works are included in numerous international exhibitions, the most recent including: 2015 William Kentridge: Tapestries Kewening Galerie; 2015 EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Amsterdam: If We Ever Get To Heaven; 2015 Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich: William Kentridge – The Nose (4 June to 6 September); 2015 Royal Academy Summer show.

Posted in Contemporary African Art Fair, David Krut Projects, William Kentridge, Woodcut Print


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