Kendell Geers
Black painting

This piece by Kendell Geers comprises two identical clocks against a black background painted directly onto the wall. One is set on New York time, the other on Bagdad time. This installation seems to implicitly echo another piece by another artist, also named “Untitled” (“Perfect Lovers”), created in 1991 by Cuban-American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. This work presented itself as two identical and perfectly synchronized clocks symbolizing love, and more broadly union and concordance, as well as the universality of time. But Kendell Geers replaced the subtitle “Perfect Lovers” with “Imperfect” and his clocks show two different times, that of a likely peaceful New York and a Bagdad afflicted by war (the piece was created in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War). By highlighting the time difference between the two countries, he underlines their discordance, de-synchronizes the times and refutes a globalized vision of the world: the world is not the same for everyone and it is difficult to reunite dis- jointed times.

About the artist

Born in South Africa, Kendell Geers lives and works in Brussels. At the 1993 Venice Biennale he officially changed his date of birth to May 1968, a momentous year in world history for human liberation and equality. Geers creates work that aims to disrupt commonly accepted moral codes and principles. Employing a wide range of references – from the realms of history of art, pornography, iconography and kitsch – Geers questions artistic value and mocks the notion of originality. His work reveals razor-sharp humour that plays with the viewer’s repulsion and ridicules racial or religious stereotypes. Laden with complex and deep political implications, it is challenging and confrontational. At the same time, Geers’ minimalist aesthetics generate a subtle poetic undertone. His use of language, ready-mades, neon, glass, icons, film, chevron tape and other objects confront the viewer head on. They often startle the eye and require a degree of interrogation from the spectator. ‘Love, By Any Means Necessary’, the sixth solo exhibition for the artist at Stephen Friedman Gallery, opened in February 2020. Geers curated ‘IncarNations: African Art as Philosophy’ in 2019 with Congolese collector Sindika Dokolo at Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR), Brussels. A major retrospective of his work curated by Okwui Enwezor was held at Haus der Kunst, Munich in 2013. He participated in Documenta 14 in 2017 and Documenta 11 in 2002 in Kassel, Germany. Geers’ work was included in the Venice Biennale in 2019, 2007 and 1993.

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Courtesy: the artist and ADN Galeria