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William Kentridge: Universal Archive

January 5 – May 22, 2021

Chicago and East Galleries

William Kentridge's Six Birds
William Kentridge's Twelve Coffee Pots


Renowned South African artist, William Kentridge, shares new work inspired during the writing of his Norton Lectures delivered at Harvard in 2012. In this expanding series, a familiar personal iconography is revisited – coffee pots, typewriters, cats, trees, nudes and other imagery; an intimate thematic repertoire appearing in art and stage productions throughout the artist’s career. Meticulously based on ink sketches, over 75 linocut prints shift from identifiable subject matter to deconstructed images of abstract marks on dictionary and encyclopedia pages, forming juxtapositions that suggest skepticism about the creative process and knowledge construction. This is the first major exhibition of the Universal Archive series and is organized with the cooperation of David Krut, in whose Johannesburg print studio Kentridge produced the series.

William Kentridge: Universal Archive is organized for tour by the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College and is made possible, in part, by contributions from Alva Greenberg ’74, the Gund Gallery Board of Directors and Ohio Arts Council.


Funded in part by the Susan B. Moldenhauer FUNd for Contemporary Art, Genesis Alkali, the Wyoming Arts Council through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature.

Genesis Alkal logoWyoming Arts Council



Six Birds, 2012. From Universal Archive series. Linocut printed on non-archival pages from Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 28 1/2” x 31”

Twelve Coffee Pots, 2012. From Universal Archive series. Linocut printed on non-archival pages from Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 41 1/3” x 40 3/4”

Images courtesy of Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, and David Krut Projects, Johannesburg/New York.


William Kentridge: Universal Archive immersive digital gallery environment.

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A virtual experience of "William Kentridge: Universal Archive" on view at the UW Art Museum through May 22, 2021.

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