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ADN Galeria: Kendell Geers - Hellraiser - 25 Nov 2011 to 14 Jan 2012

Current Exhibition

25 Nov 2011 to 14 Jan 2012

ADN Galeria
c/ Enrique Granados, 49
T: +34 93 451 0064
F: +34 93 675 2423

Kendell Geers, Untitled, photograph, 2011

Artists in this exhibition: Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers, Hellraiser

Exhibition curated by Pierre-Olivier Rollin and ADN Galeria
Opening on Friday, November 25 th, , 2011, at 7.30 p.m.
Exhibition from November 26 th, 2011 to January 14th , 2012.

ADN Galeria will open on November 25th the solo show Hellraiser by Kendell Geers, curated by Pierre-Olivier Rollin, director of B.P.S.22 in Charleroi, Belgium, and ADN Galeria.

Kendell Geers’ work formulates a critical and iconoclast standpoint almost atypical in the contemporary artistic landscape. As the main line in his work, the notion of power comes out in representations that deal directly or t h i metaphorically with issues like violence, religion, moral, sex, discipline and fear. Geers undermines the system of values set by our Western society and harshly reveals some aspects that are usually left in the dark: struggles for power, racism, coercion, injustice, exploitation of the weakest, feigned puritanism.

Far from the moralist, right-thinking tone that characterizes the so-called “political art”, Geers presents himself instead as a “terrorealist” (according to his own formula) who indecently exposes the reality without distorting ideological filters. He doesn’t hesitate to use forms and expressions which provoke for their violence and their authoritarian or sexist character to unsettling the ideals of racial, ideological or religious purity. While relying on recurrent visual motives and humble materials (glasses stick on various supports, statues wrapped into the adhesive tape used by the police to circumscribe crime areas, black painting or ink dripping, construction materials), Geers’ works appear like signs that interfere and destabilize a system which legitimacy is based on the tacit omission of its dysfunctions.

As Pierre Olivier Rollin, curator of the exhibition observes: “in this exhibition, the artist will articulate some works realized in the last years along with his most recent production: drawings, sculptures, paintings, sculptural surfaces, installations, wall paintings. The exhibition synthesizes a series of concerns that have permeated the artist’s practice since his beginnings: the conjunction of extreme positions, the transformation of images and objects, the political reinterpretation of ready-made, minimalism and conceptual art, the alteration of senses, the aporia of language. Assembled in a large “cluster hanging”, works from various periods, media and expressive forms will compose an extended installation, increasing their levels of understanding. The works’ layout deliberately opens a multiplicity of interpretations that bring the works in their deep coherence and ramifications.”

The works exhibited at ADN surprises for its communicative efficiency: they are simple and determined, well structured and visually attractive. The aesthetic dimension of the works functions as a counter-weight for their provoking and violent contents. This ironically recalls us that violence is, also, “glamorous”, and produces fascination and addiction. The title of the exhibition, Hellraiser, plays with this dual vision of a figure that is desired just for being powerful and dangerous. A large wall painting takes the well-known “LOVE” pattern of Roberto Indiana and turns it into a weaving of graphic signs up to make it unrecognizable, decomposed into alphabetical characters and abstract or tribal forms that look like stylized razor blades. The same impression of latent threat emanates from an installation composed by bricks suspended over the visitors’ head. Several sculptures in bronze reproduce some typical motives of Geers’ visual and symbolic field of references: religious, political or popular icons like the Belgian “Manneken Pis”, variations on African statues, daily objects with fingerprints or moldings of parts of the artist’s body. The display also includes a series of interventions on images appropriated from magazines and a new series of pornographic drawings that play with the voyeuristic condition of the spectator, who sees her/himself reflected on the support of the artworks.

The whole selection of pieces relies on black humor and obscenity; it shows the artist’s clear predilection for a bitter use of blaspheme and a smiley and caustic provocation. Language itself, as an essential component in Geers’ work, has a double face: the enigmatic phrases appearing in his drawings or painted on the walls hide standard words and concepts which have often been “stolen” from artistic or political discourses. Geers ill-treats and transforms language, aware of its ambivalence and properties to manipulate the public. Facing the works, the spectator has no other choice than confronting his/her own adhesion to this phantasmagoric script and his/her level of involvement and enjoyment.

Despite his iconoclastic tone, the artist’s expression is rarely univocal, since he keeps his own position ambiguous. Likewise, his biography and personal mythology follows the same scheme of ambivalence; from his identity as white man born and raised in South-Africa and militancy against the regime of the Apartheid, to his own decision to adopt 1968 as his symbolic date of birth, Geers exploits his personal history and constructs for himself a fictional character, while the discourses of the art establishment utilize these inputs to render, in turn, as a subversive icon.


Kendell Geers – 1968 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium

Solo shows (selection): 2011 Hellraiser, ADN Galeria, Barcelona, Spain. Fin de Partie , Galleria Continua, Beijing, China. 2010 Third World Disorder , Goodman Gallery - Cape Town Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa. HANDGRENADES FROM MY HEART, GALERIE RODOLPHE JANSSEN, Brussels, Belgium. 2009 Irrespektiv, MART, Trento, Italy. 2008 PRAYPLAYPREY Oficina Para de Arte A.C., Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Irrespektiv , Musée d’art Contemporain Cité internationale, Lyon, France / DA2 Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain. Post Punk Pagan Pop, De Pury & Luxembourg, Zürich, Switzerland. 2007 Kannibale , Yvon Lambert Galerie Paris France Irrespektiv S M A K Stedelijk Galerie, Paris, France. Irrespektiv , S.M.A.K. Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium / BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Gateshead, UK / Moca - Musée d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France / MART, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Trento, Italy. 2006 Kendell Geers , Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK. 2005 Satyr:Ikon, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy. The Fall, Sorry, we’re closed, Brussels, Belgium. Hung, Drawn and Quartered , Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, USA.

Group shows (selection): 2011 Sopra/naturale. La Forma riflette, Pietrasanta, Italia. ArtUnlimited , Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland. Sympathy for the Devil, VanhaerentsArtCollection, Brussels, Belgium. The Luminous Interval , The Daskalopoulos Collection, The Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain. 2010 The rights to protest, Museum on the Seam / Socio-Political Contemporary Art Museum, Jerusalem, Israel. Lust and Vice: The Seven Deadly Sins from Dürer to Nauman, Bern, Switzerland. 29th Bienal de São Paulo “Há sempre um copo de mar para o homem navegar” [There is always a cup of sea to sail in] , Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dominó Caníbal , Pac Murcia, Sala Verónicas, Murcia, Spain. 2009 Scratch, ADN Galería, Barcelona, Spain. Sphères , Galleria Continua / Le Moulin, Boissy-le-Chatel, France. Time of the signs, De Pury & Luxembourg, Zürich, Switzerland. 2008 Artist- Citizen / Contextual artistic practices , Cultural Centre of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia. BETWIXT , Magasin 3 Stockholm Konstall, Stockholm, Sweden. WALL ROCKETS , FLAG Art Foundation 9th & 10th floors, Chelsea Arts Tower, New York, USA. Collection Agustin et Isabel Coppel, Mexico: Expected/Unexpected, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France. Person of the Crowd: The contemporary Art of Flânerie , Neuberger Museum of Art, New York, USA. Signals in the Dark: Art in the Shadow of War , Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Canada. 2007 J’embrasse pas la collection , Yvon Lambert, Avignon, France. Passage du Temps, Collection François Pinault Foundation, Lille, France. Hidden Cities , Third International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. África pavilion, 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy. Global Cities , Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London, UK. Stock Zero, Or The Icy Water Of Egoistical calculation, 2nd Moscow Biennal of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia. 2006 Expérience Pommery, Domaine Pommery, Reims, France. SD OBSERVATORIO , Institut valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain. DON JUAN alias Don Giovanni¹ or “Two plus two equals four” or “Lust is the only swindle I wish permanence” , Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria. Looking both ways , Museum of the Áfrican Diaspora, San Francisco, USA.


Pierre-Olivier Rollin is director of B.P.S.22, space for contemporary creation in Charleroi, Belgium. He organized exhibitions of artists such as Wang Du, Kendell Geers, Jota Castro or Patrick Everaert. He is an independent curator and art critic as well.

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