From May 20, to June 29, 2022

Double Vision

William Kentridge

These stereoscopic images were made at different stages over the last ten years, as part of an ongoing investigation, in the studio, of the work we do in making meaning as move through the world.

They start with two photographs of objects in the studio - still lives, paper cut-outs, a model of a theatre. The flatness of the images is obvious. But when you put your eyes to the stereoscopic lens, the two images which are so flat fuse together and give the illusion of depth.

This is not seeing three dimensions in the world - this is constructing it in one’s brain. Suddenly the brain becomes a muscle, which can pull the images together. The world is not just received, but is constructed. In this room you have these photogravures, but they are just doing the work that our retinas do all the time. I’ve done these for many years and know what will happen. I am still amazed each time. This is how we go through the world. Anticipation does not diminish surprise.

The images are firstly made as drawings or paper installations in the studio. These are photographed twice, the two photos taken three inches apart, corresponding to the distance between the eyes. Through alchemy of a master plate-maker, the photographs are turned into aquatints on copper plates, and hand-printed on an etching press.

The photogravures here are drawn from two projects.

Underweysung der Messung (2007), a suite of six prints which are all shown here, was made for an exhibition in the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. The images in this series refer directly to Albrecht Dürer’s machines for drawing. In the exhibition there was also an anamorphic film(distorted images projected onto a sheet of paper on a table, the images gaining their proper proportion reflected in a cylinder at the centre), another project using a visual device to examine how we actively construct images and meaning.

Tummelplatz (2017) was a project in collaboration with Ivory Press in Madrid. There were 20 images made (these were bound into a book for the Ivory Press edition), of which 13 are shown here. The images arose out of a wish to make, in the most analogue way, a virtual reality pop up book: to play with three dimensions and the essentially flat format of paper and a book. The idea was to use stereoscopic photography to give an illusion of depth in images, of layers coming forward towards the viewer from the book.

Both editions were beautifully printed by Randy Hemminghaus at Rutgers University in New York.

Finally, there is one photographic stereoscopic image (in colour), which shows the model theatre that was used in the studio during the making of Wozzeck to work out sets, projections, choreography, costumes, lighting.