Kendell Geers

A European by descent, an African by birth, the works of Kendell Geers (ZA, 1968) embody the contradictions of his identity. In his recent work, the artist embraces the still life tradition because he sees a direct link with his Dutch ancestors and history of Afrikaners in South Africa. He has returned to the still life tradition because it links the past and the future. The flowers are beautiful and their colors invite attention, the poetic expression of peace, love and joy. At the same time, the images dying flowers and the image of Matisse’s cut out of Icarus warn us against our vanity or hubris in relation to nature.

Poetic Justice (Icarus) 5497, 2022 | Acrylic on canvas | 210 x 130 cm

Kendell Geers

Poetic Justice is one of the fundamental shifts in Kendell Geers’ work from his earlier works until today. In the early 1990s after the end of Apartheid, Geers returned to South Africa after years of exile in New York. At that time, he was violently against beauty, aesthetics and poetry of any sort, because he felt it could be an excuse. Geers was influenced by Adorno, who said that after Auschwitz there could not be poetry. Similarly, Geers believed that after Apartheid there could not be poetry. Today, Geers is at a certain age where he has found a relationship to poetry which is different from how he imagined it earlier.

Poetic Justice is posing the question of the function of beauty, aesthetics, and of poetry. In some ways, these works might be a door to let some people into a discussion who might otherwise be repulsed by the violence. At the same time, the works possess the question about ‘seasons in hell’, about how we live in the world and how we endanger our own existence in the Anthropocene.

Poetic Justice 4171, 2021 | Acrylic on canvas | 160 x 120 cm

Kendell Geers

Available

Les Fleurs du Mal 1608, 2020 | Acrylic on canvas | 80 x 80 cm

Kendell Geers

Les Fleurs du Mal 1602, 2021 | Acrylic on canvas | 80 x 80 cm

Kendell Geers

Les Fleurs du Mal 1587, 2020 | Acrylic on canvas | 80 x 80 cm

Kendell Geers

Les Fleurs du Mal 1547, 2020 | Acrylic on canvas | 80 x 80 cm

Kendell Geers

About the artist

A European by descent, an African by birth, Kendell Geers work embodies the contradictions of his identity, being both Animist and Mystic, Shaman and Alchemist, Punk and Poet. The warp of popular culture is woven into the weft of poetry, painting, literature and ritual. He uses experience to colour perception, spiritualising matter and materialising spirit, mocking tradition like an iconoclast whilst celebrating history like a Medieval Monk.

Believing that art is as political as it is spiritual, Kendell Geers’ varied practice cannot be simplified, cannot be reduced to cliché or fashion. Working as an artist, musician, designer and writer, his strategies are without compromise because he believes that “Art changes the world – one perception at a time.”

Go to the artist page

For inquiries into the works by Kendell Geers, click on one of the buttons below:

Email Inquiry Whatsapp Inquiry

ABOUT Kendell Geers

Born into a working class Afrikaans family during the height of Apartheid, Kendell Geers quickly found himself fighting a Crime Against Humanity on the front lines of activism and protest. Running away from the military regime and a six year prison sentence, he escaped to London in 1988 as a political refugee. In 1989 he moved on to New York where he found employ as Richard Prince’s full time assistant. Following the release of Nelson Mandela, Geers returned to South Africa in 1990 to help build the new democracy.

From his strong experiences as a revolutionary, he developed a psycho-social-political practice that held ethics and aesthetics to be opposite sides of the very same coin, spinning upon the tables of history. In his hands, the discourse of art history is interrogated, languages of power and ideological codes subverted, expectations smashed and belief systems transformed into aesthetic codes. The raw energy of a Punk attitude is blended with the visceral visionary philosophy of poets like Rimbaud, Blake and Burroughs in an uncanny cocktail of unexpected contrasts.

A European by descent, an African by birth, Kendell Geers work embodies the contradictions of his identity, being both Animist and Mystic, Shaman and Alchemist, Punk and Poet. The warp of popular culture is woven into the weft of poetry, painting, literature and ritual. He uses experience to colour perception, spiritualising matter and materialising spirit, mocking tradition like an iconoclast whilst celebrating history like a Medieval Monk.

Believing that art is as political as it is spiritual, Kendell Geers’ varied practice cannot be simplified, cannot be reduced to cliché or fashion. Working as an artist, musician, designer and writer, his strategies are without compromise because he believes that “Art changes the world – one perception at a time.”

Kendell Geers was born in May 1968, Johannesburg, South Africa
He lives and works in Brussels, Belgium

GO TO THE ARTIST PAGE