Andrew van der Vlies

Andrew van der Vlies teaches in the Department of English at Queen Mary University of London, and is an Extraordinary Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He has published widely on South African literature, print cultures, and art; his new monograph, Present Imperfect: Contemporary South African Literature, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in June 2017. Andrew is lead editor of Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies.


Thick Time: William Kentridge, Peripheral Modernisms, and the Politics of Refusal

In the final room of Thick Time, the William Kentridge show recently on at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, viewers encountered yet another of the installation environments those familiar with the South African artist’s work have come to expect from this fascinating—mercurial, polymath—contemporary global art-maker.[1] We imagine we are in a room in a villa near the sea. On one wall, a demagogue gesticulates in vintage newsreel footage, addressing an audience in French (apparently an international gathering of socialists), while disappearing slowly from view as water rises to obscure all but the English subtitles.