The staging of ‘William Kentridge: Thick Time’ by The Whitechapel Art Gallery, in London, is a wonderful opportunity to experience the work of this artist, thinker, book, animation and filmmaker. Complex ideas are fused in medium, form and space of engagement. A promenade through the gallery building finds it transformed to a series staged experiences. These draw upon aspects of theatre, projection and installation, with structure, machinery, and device, revealed as artefacts to be celebrated. The effect is mesmerising, perhaps overwhelming, but powerful nevertheless.
The Whitechapel Art Gallery is itself worth visiting. Designed by architect Charles Harrison Townsend in 1901, it was one of the first public funded galleries with the purpose of holding changing exhibitions. This is an interesting late example of what may be termed the ‘arts and crafts’ movement in British architecture; inspired by, amongst others, the ideas of William Morris, and John Ruskin. Arguably there is much that we could relearn from this time. However, the gallery has evolved with positive additions and renovations; most recently in 2005 by architects Robbrect en Daem, working with Witherford Watson Mann Architects.