This signed etching from 1989 is a limited edition of 80 from Keith Haring’s The Valley series. The Valley Page 9 shows a line drawing of a male torso with a knife violently thrust under his ribcage. Blood drips from the man’s wound and despite the simplicity of line, Haring’s print is charged with violence and gore.
The Valley series marked a new direction in Haring’s visual language that continued until his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 31. Alongside his Apocalypse series (1988), this series introduces stylistic shifts of more complex compositions and characters such as jesters, masks, skills and martyrs. Completed two years after Haring’s own AIDS diagnosis, The Valley Page 9 is indicative of the artist’s preoccupation with hellish narratives and death.
The ominous texts by William S. Burroughs are copied by hand on sixteen sheets of tracing paper, which were photo-etched onto copper plates and printed in red ink. The text which is also titled, The Valley, is a chapter from the author’s novel, The Western Lands from 1987. This print tells the story of a man who is killed at dawn by being stabbed, in order to avoid a more gruesome death from drinking the ‘Death Beer’ that Burroughs describes.