Arion Press edition The Lulu Plays by Frank Wedekind with William Kentridge drawings for a large-screen presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Arion Press, San Francisco, CA (2015).
Between 2011 and 2015, South African artist William Kentridge created hundreds of ink drawings on dictionary pages for a new production of Alban Berg’s 1935 operatic masterpiece, Lulu, which he directed at the Metropolitan Opera. The sliding walls of the stage settings served as screens for the projection of constantly changing ink drawings and other animations during the opera. In collaboration with the Arion Press of San Francisco, Kentridge produced a limited-edition artist’s book featuring 67 drawings adapted from those he created for the Met.
The text is the two Lulu plays by Frank Wedekind, Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box, which form the basis for both Berg’s libretto and the 1929 G.W. Pabst silent-film classic, Pandora’s Box, starring Louise Brooks. ArtNews magazine reported that Kentridge “called the Arion Press book ‘a high-end operating manual’ for penetrating the opera and his work.” 42-line photographed the book and rendered the images into a high-res pdf for use at an event in October 2015, billed by the Met as a discussion with the artist ”on how design and imagery aid human imagination, whether by enhancing words on a page or orchestral sound in a theater.”
Right:Illustration, “Customer at the Door,” from The LuLu Plays, 9½ x 13½ inches, 2015. Below: Title page, The LuLu Plays, large-screen presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2015; detail, illustration, “LuLu,” from The LuLu Plays, 9½ x 13½ inches, 2015.