Impression: Thick Time Exhibition

If I’m being completely honest I would never have paid £12 to see this exhibition if it had not been set as a task. It was all the elements of an exhibition I don’t enjoy and left me feeling frustrated. Although if you enjoy performance and art then you’ll probably have a different view to myself.

William Kentridge’s Thick Time exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery is made up of six large-scale installations; music and drama are ruptured by revolution, exile and scientific advancement. The work included drawing, printmaking, film, performance, music, tapestry and sculpture.

For me I found the exhibition difficult because I struggle to get my head around video installations. One of the rooms had 6 videos playing on repeat which was fine as they were around 2 minutes a piece, however the other rooms had longer videos of maybe 20-30 minutes which is frustrating to understand what is happening and the rooms were too small for the people squashed inside. Although I’m coming across quite negative about the exhibition I don’t think it was the work that was off putting but rather the maze of the curation and my lack of understanding of the work in front of me.

There was one room however, which had a series of mural-scale tapestries based on Kentridge’s opera production of Shostakovich’s The Nose which I loved. The room was brightly lit unlike the others and there was space for people to sit down and read some of William Kentridge’s published works. I enjoyed the feel of the room, it was more welcoming to me than the others.

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Photograph by Hannah Phillips | 2017

Overall I came out feeling like I had wasted money as I couldn’t understand the videos. It was also to me the kind of thing which left me feeling stupid for not “getting it”. However after coming home from the exhibition I viewed the following video from the gallery’s website. After watching the video I felt as though I had a slight understanding of the exhibition as it was more informative than the curation of the gallery.

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