The typewriter has appeared—often in a sinister cast—throughout Kentridge's oeuvre, beginning with his earliest film animations, the first of which is from 1989. In these, Kentridge's fictional protagonist, the soulless mining magnate Soho Eckstein, is portrayed at his office desk with assorted objects of communication from a bygone era: adding machine, rotary telephone, manual typewriter—the soundtrack a cacophony of ticking, clacking, and ringing.
The typewriter has also figured in Kentridge's work on the theme of progression, in which some of the marching figures carry the object, as well as in his Zeno project, which includes prints, a film animation, and theater pieces that feature the machine centrally. The typewriter has occasionally appeared as a stand-alone object, in works ranging from wall-size drawings to these intimate prints, which depict vintage models with exaggerated and anthropomorphized attributes.
William Kentridge: Trace: Prints from the Museum of Modern Art, by Judith B. Hecker, Museum of Modern Art, 2010, pp. 62.