Created a year before South Africa's first nonracial democratic election, as right-wing opposition escalated and police brutality persisted, General isolates one of Kentridge's heartless protagonists. The vigorous line work here was printed from a rigid polycarbonate sheet the artist incised using an electric engraver. Kentridge made several experimental impressions, including this one, on sheets of paper that he first painted with watercolors—creating vivid coloration uncharacteristic of his work overall.
Gallery label from William Kentridge: Five Themes, February 24–May 17, 2010.
Kentridge made General at a time of escalating violence, a year before South Africa’s first democratic election, in which a newly freed Nelson Mandela was elected president. The work was created as a black-and-white engraving; this unusual color version was printed on a sheet that the artist first painted in watercolor.
Gallery label from Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, March 23–August 14, 2011 .