Many hands, light work

The David Krut Projects art gallery in Johannesburg presents a collection of photogravures by South African artist William Kentridge.

Titled Studio Life Gravures, the exhibition is taking place at the Parkwood-based David Krut Projects gallery until 15 February 2023. In a cross-continental collaboration, the show features two bodies of photogravures produced by William Kentridge, the David Krut Workshop and Jillian Ross Print in Canada.

Photogravures are photographs etched into copper and printed traditionally with ink. The process is particularly time-consuming and labour-intensive, which is why it’s rarely used in the creation of contemporary artwork, and also why it was chosen by Kentridge during an unprecedented time.

The collection is the culmination of three years of collaboration during the numerous Covid-19 lockdowns. It was during these times of isolation that Kentridge suggested the ‘age-old method of photogravure as a methodology of working together while remaining in isolation’. The unique skills of each studio were highlighted, including those of photogravure experts Steven Dixon from Canada and Zhané Warren from Cape Town.

The first body of work, titled Studio Life, is a series of 12 photogravures that show William Kentridge at work in his Joburg studio. The images are replications of stills from an introspective film series Kentridge created during the pandemic called Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot. The three studios turned stills from the film into a series of large-format prints through the photogravure printing process over a period of two years.

The second series in the exhibition features a collection of photogravures inspired by Kentridge’s solo exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. The solo exhibition, which included new and never-before-seen multimedia works such as large-scale tapestries, charcoal drawings and films, was used to create a collection of related photogravure prints.

More information and pictures of the photogravure process and the exhibited prints can be found at


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Photographs: William Kentridge, Jillian Ross and David Krut Workshop.