William Kentridge: Thick Time

William Kentridge at Whitechapel Gallery Installation View. Stephen White (3)William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012, Five-channel video projection, colour, sound, 4 megaphones, breathing machine, 30 minutes. Made in collaboration with Phillip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, and Peter Galison. Installation View, Thick Time, Whitechapel Gallery, 2017. Image courtesy the artist and Whitechapel Gallery.

This is a scholarly review published in NECSUS European Journal of Media Studies, Spring, May 28, 2017. Link here

As I inhabit and move around the densely-textured visual and aural space of The Refusal of Time, I experience euphoria attached to something that registers through ‘feeling’ and that is creatively and aesthetically beautiful and transformative. I also experience the unpleasant sensations of inhabiting the space as a viewer who is marked by a personal relationship to South Africa and the historical, social, and political conditions of apartheid as a woman classified white by the apartheid state. Simply by virtue of being classified white – which is not to negate the impact of apartheid patriarchy on women more broadly, or to undermine the possibilities of friendship and love across the racial boundaries actively policed by the apartheid state – automatic privileges were granted which were denied to women classified black, coloured, or Indian. In a 2009 article published in the South African newspaper Mail & Guardian the South African scholar and writer Njabulo Ndebele draws attention to the political-affective charge of apartheid in South Africa.

William Kentridge at Whitechapel Gallery Installation View. Stephen White (1)Installation view of the Reading Room, William Kentridge: Thick Time, Whitechapel Gallery, 2017. Image courtesy the artist and Whitechapel Gallery.

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