‘BlindFaithNoMore’ is Kendell Geers’ fourth solo exhibition at ADN Galeria and the artist’s most engaged to date in a sophisticated game between language and its discontent.
Courtesy of the artist and ADN Galeria.
The spiritual catharsis that began with HellRaiser (2012) gave rise to the pagan iconoclasm of ProPaganDaDa (2016) both of which blossomed into the spirit of protest that defined #iPROtesttHEReforeIam (2019). Finally, ‘BlindFaithNoMore‘ is an exorcism of the present that plays out like a game of “Truth or Dare.”
The title ‘BlindFaithNoMore‘ is a reference to two iconic Rock and roll record covers –Blind Faith (1969), and Faith No More (1987) – that, placed side by side, create an unexpected new meaning that washes out the dustbin of art history with the detergent of popular culture, seasoned with the bleach of black humour. Kendell Geers has not lost his faith in art, but he does refuse to blindly accept the unacceptable parading as faith. He is not the only person who believes that the art system has lost its anchor in reality and severed its tether to humanity. It is not art, but the money laundering system that is rotten and threatens to drown every artist in a quagmire of spiritual bankruptcy and blood soaked opportunism.
Born into a working class Afrikaans family at the height of Apartheid, Kendell Geers ran away from home at 15 to join the Anti-Apartheid revolution. By his 17th birthday he was on trial for treason and narrowly escaped imprisonment by fleeing into exile as a refugee. He eventually found his way to New York where he worked as Richard Prince’s assistant. After Nelson Mandela’s release from prison on 11 February 1990 Geers returned to South Africa and crafted a unique language of art that transforms his experiences on the frontlines fighting a crime against humanity into aesthetic contradictions. ‘BlindFaithNoMore‘ opens on the 33rd anniversary of Mandela’s emancipation, commemorating the spirit of freedom, liberty and sacrifice.
The quick succession of social, political, economic and climatic chaos from Brexit to Trump, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, global energy crisis to forest fires, heatwaves, floods, droughts and ice bombs, have left us all intoxicated, and hungover on a lethal overdose of Post Traumatic Stress. Every single one of us is suffering apocalypse burnout, crisis fatigue and information exhaustion. It serves the needs of the algorithm and the opportunism of politicians to maintain the climate of fear and uncertainty, but our nervous systems are all on the brink of breakdown and our mental health hovers above the abyss of despair like a Black Hawk.
‘BlindFaithNoMore‘ has been inspired by the performative protests of the climate demonstrators gluing their hands into art historical protest and hurling paint against the architecture of power. Kendell Geers uses his own body as the site for his interrogation. He weaponises his Carbon Footprints and walks the line that divides good from evil, Europe from Africa, poetry from politics, religion from faith, fear from prejudice. Where is the border that divides us from nature and why is human nature so violently destructive? Our fears mirror our desire to destroy everything that makes us human by transforming the world we live in into resources to be sold to the highest bidder, by any means necessary.
The unique language that Kendell Geers has created is difficult to define because what you see can never be reduced to what you get. That is because his own identity is impossible to define as a white, African, shapeshifting trickster, whose practice is as viscerally expressionist as it is conceptual. He embraces abstraction whilst at the same time explores what it means to be figuratively human. With his tongue firmly in our cheek, words no longer have fixed meanings, as he stretches them like the tympanum of a shamanic drum between the edges of our perception, pulling semantics like a pelt into the corners of unexpected trans linguistic puns, innuendos and double-entendre. He takes us by the hand and, with a superglue made from Vaseline, invites us into the darkest recesses of Plato’s Cave where he dances naked, between the shadow and flame.
The only truths that we can trust are our cages of flesh and bone. Our bodies cannot lie simply because we refuse to take the time to give the space to listen to what we are. In protest Kendell Geers has carved a unique language from the head on collision between art and life in which the only truth is that there is no truth because perception has been turned inside out and outside doubt.
Art Changes the World – One Perception at a Time !
The exhibition will be on view from the 11th of February until the 13th of May 2023. For more information, please visit ADN Galeria.