Earlier this year, William Kentridge collaborated with Artist Proof Studio to translate the original ink wash drawings from his Rome frieze: Triumphs and Laments into monumental prints, retaining some of the impetus and spirit of the drawings.
The following article is written by Kim Berman, Director of Artist Proof Studio (APS), who collaborated with William Kentridge on the She-wolf prints, and includes text extracted from Triumphs and Laments by Carlos Basualdo from two essays by Salvatore Settis and Gabriele Guercio and a conversation with William Kentridge. Published in 2016 as a guide to the work.
Triumphs and Laments has been described as ‘paradoxical monumentality’. The aim of Kentridge’s Roman project is ‘to capture the transient: to bear witness to what is altered and dissolved over time’. It expresses ‘a desire to experience both the unfolding of time and time itself as unfolding’.
Triumphs and Laments consists of erased graffiti drawings on the banks of the Tiber River between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini in the heart of Rome. The project was commissioned by the non-profit organisation Tevereterno and Kristin Jones. The project was conceived as a performative projection a decade earlier. Jones worked on a stretch of the wall in 2005 for her project on the She-wolves on the Tiber using erased graffiti (in which the colour of the travertine stone is a light background and the dirt is left after the wall is washed around the image). This was the beginning of the commission with William Kentridge’s monumental procession.
For Kentridge, this project became about the space between the Vatican and the site of the original segregated Jewish ghetto that was established during the late Renaissance in Rome from 1555 and lasted until 1870 when the Italian army conquered Rome bringing the enlightened views of Garibaldi, Mazzini and Cavour.
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