Carpenters Workshop Gallery is pleased to offer South African artist Kendell Geers‘ upcoming exhibition, « Flesh of the spirit », highlighting a previously unseen series of sculptures, which runs March 31, 2022 at the gallery.
Under the aegis of art and theory Kongo, Yoruba, Mandingue, Ekoï that have illuminated the shores of the Americas, associating each of the ways of life of the Black Atlantic.
Kendell Geers articulates his work around signs, structures and figures that manifest the solidarity of the soul that spans oceans, islands and continents. For him, while the guides to death and brutality demonstrate the veracity of the extradition of African bodies in slave ships, they also weave the threads of a narrative where Africa proceeds elsewhere, off its properties. More than a follow-up, but a heartbeat, words, ceremonies and a personality for sure.
« Flesh of the spirit », presents a dazzle, something is destroyed, yet with Kendell Geers, spirit is as of now not simply another word to depict a typical motivation. It attracts to particularities that are difficult to clarify, like a soul that strikes. For the subject of identity, of that which is one, also stops that of simulacra and obviously exceeds the double disposition of model and duplicate. It allows to face the encapsulation, the unity of the referent that divides and opens this space to investigate the pairs, the game, the strangeness or the recognition or the erroneous vision of the questions of personality.
In his works, Kendell Geers questions African art? Does he ask if there are undeniable plastic similarities? Or, to use Senghor’s terms, does it communicate a solidarity of another world or way of thinking?
It presents through this aspect a reflection aid, a gigantic bronze model: a lady without hands, whose structures reverberate the possibility of an old African sculpture that remains vague. This work is surrounded by eight bronze masks that are reflected in each other. One of them is animated by a « Pende Mbangu » disease mask, with mutilated reflections, testifying to a malevolence that is both physical and profound.
« Flesh of the spirit » offers a splendidly shaded background that could look African, but is instead distinguished by a typography borrowed from the Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg, as if to offer a kind of journey from the Netherlands to South Africa, where the lie that has become the simple proportion of our convictions.
Through « Flesh of the spirit » Kendell Geers addresses a child, a man, a lady sitting with a child leaning towards her chest to communicate a rambling request, a kind of suggestion to advise us to know how to grasp the variety of societies through a similar general human reference. The characters of his work are thus white painted in black to show us that the extraordinary distinction is worked by an aggregation of subtleties presented on an underlying reference. A sort of round of similarities that pivots and questions our gaze and informs it at the same time?
Kendell Geers sometimes uses the woman’s body to scrutinize each one of us on the anguish, which revisits the torments and the memory which suffocates. He goes through these engravings along the spine, which are printed here and there as if to create an impression of the psyche: he starts from one point, then on to the next, and then, at that point, returns.
For him, discernment can get carried away: the figure can be attractive, charged like a « Nkisi », its structures can bring out the plastic universes of the Bakongo people. In any case, in « Flesh of the spirit » he asks us what is African and what is not? What comes back to Africa in these elegant rounds of resemblance where Europe is not yet the underlying reference? What takes on a social and/or cultural structure?
One can say that Kendell Geers‘ works return all the potential exits of a space and remain a privileged and secret corner of the individuals who, lost on the other side of the mirror, call for an existence where the material science of the bodies supports the unsubdued force of a soul which is only delocalization.
Coming from a common family during racial segregation, Kendell Geers quickly found himself on the frontlines of crime against humanity, at the heart of combat and activism.
His experience as a revolutionary allowed him to develop a psycho-socio-political practice in which morality and aesthetics are as if cut from the same cloth.
For him, art history is examined, the force of words and ideological codes are turned inside out, assumptions are disrupted and frames of conviction are transformed into stylistic codes.
The work of Kendell Geers, who characterizes himself as an AniMystikAktivist, encourages a syncretic methodology that blends different traditions. Firmly adhering to the idea that « l’art change le monde, chaque discernement à son tour », Kendell Geers does not seek compromise in his practice.