Twilight of the Idols

Galerie Ron Mandos is delighted to present Twilight of the Idols, an exclusive online viewing room with works by the acclaimed South African artist Kendell Geers (1968).

Twilight of the Idols features Geers’ iconic sculptures of lost objects wrapped in red-and-white tape. Additionally, this online viewing room presents new paintings of colorful flowers slowly transforming into bullet holes. The intention of these works is to call attention to what is hidden underneath the surface: the psychic presence of African sculptures and the violent stories of slavery. These beautiful works of art make a visceral connection with the viewer so that we will be able to engage with the sometimes hard and ugly realities of our life.

Kendell Geers is widely recognized for his psycho-social-political practice. 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. He believes that art can change the world one perception at a time, cleansing the doors of understanding to open the paths to other ways of being.

Kendell Geers, Installation View, Kode-X, 2003

CRUCIFIXION

Kendell Geers began wrapping religious icons in red-and-white striped tape in the period of 1992-1994. His first ‘lost object’ wrapped in chevron tape was a Christian Crucifix: T.W. (I.N.R.I), which is now in the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The red-and-white danger tape represents the blood and flesh of Christ in the Eucharist and also references the wrapping of Christ’s body with linen bandages for his burial and eventual resurrection, when the strips of cloth were found abandoned in his tomb.

T.W. (I.N.R.I.) 346, 1995 | Lost object, chevron tape | 34 x 23,5 x 4 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 35.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

Mutus Liber 37, 2009 | Indian ink and gesso on lost object | 62 x 15 x 14 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 20.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

MUTUS LIBER

For Mutus Liber, Geers quite deliberately uses what he calls ‘curios’: objects crafted to sell to Westerners, which never embodied spirits. He is liberated by this knowledge to be much more aggressive in disfiguring them. Geers defaces the objects by painting them white. He then throws Indian ink, the vehicle for writing for thousands of years, over the figure.

Twilight of the Idols 9418, 2012 | Chevron tape on lost object | 33,5 x 6,5 x 13,5 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 15.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

Twilight of the Idols 9200, 2012 | Chevron tape on lost object | 26 x 8 x 8 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 15.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS

In 2002, Geers began his series Twilight of the Idols, named after Nietzsche’s essay, in which he returned to using danger tape to wrap a series of religious icons, including the Buddha, the Hindu Shiva and the Virgin Mary, and increasingly diverse African sculptures.

Geers’ intention for the wrapping of ‘lost objects’ is to call attention to what is missing, what is hidden, what is underneath. He hopes that the viewer will question what is censored in the display of ‘African art’ and will wonder if the figures still have the spirituality, the psychic presence they once contained.

Twilight of the Idols 9029, 2012 | Chevron tape on lost object | 42,5 x 13,5 x 11,5 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 15.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

Kendell Geers, Installation View, Voetstoots, 2018, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam

 

 

Kendell Geers responded to the use of red-and-white chevron tape in South Africa and Europe to cordon off areas forbidden to the public or deemed dangerous to passers-by (such as a construction zone). The meaning of the tape therefore oscillates: it can communicate danger to the viewer or the need to protect something from the viewer. For the same reason, Geers uses the motif of razor wire in his work.

 

 

Petals of Blood 2841, 2019 | Acrylics on paper | 102 x 66 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 10.000,- (Excl. tax)
Sold

Ornament and Crime 1245, 2019 | Acrylics on paper | 100 x 70,5 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 10.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

LES FLEURS DU MAL

This group of works is titled after a volume of French poetry by Charles Baudelaire. Charged with an intense longing and melancholia, these works on paper depict cut flowers whose petals simultaneously take the form of bullet holes or wounds. Severed from their roots and invoking a memento mori, the beauty of these blossoms lies in their fragility.

Les Fleurs du mal 15460, 2019 | Acrylic on canvas | 160 x 99 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 30.000,- (Excl. tax)
Sold

Les Fleurs du Mal 2802, 2019 | Acrylics on paper | 102 x 66,5 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 10.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

Les Fleurs du Mal 2649, 2019 | Acrylics on paper | 102 x 66 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 10.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

Les Fleurs du Mal 15452, 2019 | Acrylic on canvas | 160 x 99 cm

Kendell Geers

€ 30.000,- (Excl. tax)
Available

Geers draws inspiration from the contradictions inherent in his identity as an African artist. In Les Fleurs du Mal, the artist explores the notion of cultural transmission and the process whereby Dutch colonial influences flow into Afrikaans cultural identity. The same seventeenth century morals that permitted, encouraged and profited from colonialism also presided over the culture that gave rise to the Dutch still life tradition. The repetition of an emblem in these works is also inspired by Dutch wax batik fabrics, whose brightly colored patterns are a symbol of African identity yet are designed in Indonesia and produced in the Netherlands.

For more information regarding the available artworks or any other questions, please contact gallery director Nick Majoor-Arie at nick@ronmandos.nl.

ABOUT Kendell Geers

Born in May 1968, Johannesburg, South Africa
Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium

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.”

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