• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1897

    Prints And Multiples

    30 - 31 October 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 610


    Sleeper Red, from Sleeper Series

    Price Realised  


    Sleeper Red, from Sleeper Series
    etching and aquatint with drypoint in colors, 1997, on Vélin d'Arches Blanc, signed in white pencil, numbered 12/50, published by David Krut Fine Art, London, the full sheet, occasional soft handling creases, pale staining, minor surface soiling and a few areas of stray ink on the reverse, otherwise in good condition
    S. 38½ x 76 in. (978 x 1930 mm.)

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    In the Sleeper Series -- inspired by the theatre production Ubu and the Truth Commission -- Kentridge draws on his interests in animation, printmaking, theater, law and history to create a cohesive and engaging political statement on Apartheid. The play, directed by Kentridge, was based on the hearings of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and combined puppetry, performance by live actors, music, animation and documentary footage. The blood-like tint surrounding the 'sleeper' here is unusual in Kentridge's usually primarily monochromatic work. It seems to symbolize the oppressive, inescapable environment of racism described in the play.

    To create this print, Kentridge placed mundane objects in the soft-ground before etching the plate to suggest texture in the flesh of his character and to hint at the indelible nature of history and memory. After the plate is etched and printed, a ghostly presence of these artifacts remains, suggesting that traces of the past can never be fully erased.