Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
01 Feb 2013 - 12 May 2013
The artistic practice of Kendell Geers spans a variety of media and genres including installation, sculpture, drawing, video, performance, and photography. This exhibition traces the shift and the development of the artist’s aesthetic language, grouped together from 1988 to 2000 and from 2000 until the present, each being a twelve-year cycle.
The show provides the first overview in Europe of Geers’s political phase from 1988 to 2000. Born into a staunch Jehovah’s Witness, white, working-class Afrikaans family in the height of apartheid, Geers understood the power of faith, politics, and ideology at a very young age. He ran away from home when he was 15 to join the ranks of the militant anti-apartheid movement. From those seminal experiences as a front-line activist Geers developed a body of work that fuses the personal with the political, the poetic with the abject, and the violent with an erotic tension. In his works of this period he explored the moral and ethical contradictions of the apartheid system and aimed to challenge all forms of power. Placing his own life with all its vivid detail and personal experiences, his memories, fears, and desires as well as mythological ideas at the heart of his practice, Geers depicts himself as a “EuroAnimist”, bringing together the ancient animistic traditions from the African continent with the languages of the European avant-garde movements. In 2000 Geers decided to stop making art for the entire year and instead undertake a spiritual quest in search of a vision of art that would redefine his personal beliefs and his artistic practice. That year marks a significant shift in the ways the artist conceived of his work: He moved toward a poetical and animistic approach, suggesting more universal themes such as terrorism, spirituality, and mortality. The exhibition is curated by Clive Kellner, curator-at-large at Gordon Schachat Collection and former director of Johannesburg Art Gallery.