b. 1968, Johannesburg
In the late 1980s, Kendell Geers was exiled from South Africa when he refused to join the South African Defense Force. During this period, he lived in the United Kingdom and New York City, returning in 1990 after the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. He currently lives and works in Brussels.
Deeply influenced by his experiences growing up during apartheid, Geers employs strategies of provocation and disruption to question the history, aftermath, and implications of the period. Treating nothing as sacred, he frequently targets objects and images from art history and pop culture as his work confronts notions of power, convention, and perception, invoking individual and collective agency. His works are both physically and visually forceful, and he uses colors and materials that signal danger, such as sirens, broken glass, and barbed wire, to draw attention to the pervasiveness and banality of violence. Geers also uses words as a means to explore the coding and reinterpretation of language and its meaning.
Geers’s work has been shown in numerous international group exhibitions, including Néon, Who’s afraid of red, yellow, and blue?, la maison rouge, Paris (2012); and in the Dublin Contemporary (2011), 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), and Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (2002). Solo shows include Kendell Geers: Songs of Innocence and Experience and Kendell Geers: Third World Disorder, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town (2012, 2010); Kendell Geers: Handgrenades From My Heart, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels (2010); A Guest + A Host = A Ghost, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London (2009); Irrespektiv, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium (2007, traveled); and The Prodigal Son, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg (2003).