Kendell Geers was born in South Africa and now 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.
Notable solo exhibitions include: ‘Ornamentum et Krimen’, M77, Milan, Italy (2020); ‘Love, By Any Means Necessary', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2020); ‘In Gozi We Trust', Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2019-2020); ‘The Second Coming (Do What Thou Wilt)', Rua Red, Dublin, Ireland (2019); ‘Voetstoots', Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2018); ‘The Intoxication of Being Kendell Geers', UnTubo, Siena, Italy (2014); ‘Crossing the Line', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2014); ‘Kendell Geers 1988-2012', Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2013); ‘Sexe, Argent et Pouvoir', La Maison Particulière, Brussels, Belgium (2013); ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell', Chateau Blandy-les-Tours, Melun, Paris, France (2012); ‘No Government, No Cry', CIAP, Hasselt, Belgium (2011); ‘GUEST + A HOST = A GHOST', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2010-2009); ‘REAM', Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA (2009); ‘PrayPlayPray', Oficina Para Proyectos de Arte (OPA), Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico (2008); ‘Auto-da-fe', BPS22 Space for Contemporary Creation, Charleroi, Belgium (2007); ‘Irrespektiv', Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK), Ghent, Belgium; travelling to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; Musée d'Art Contemporain de Lyon (MAC Lyon), Lyon, France; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto (MART), Trento, Italy; and DA2 Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain (2007-2009); ‘The Word Made Flesh', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2006); ‘The Fall', Sorry We're Closed, Brussels, Belgium (2005); ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered', Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; toured to Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado (2005); ‘The Forest of Suicides', Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma (MACRO), Rome, Italy (2004); ‘Sexus, Cimaise et Portique', Centre Departemental d'Art Contemporain, Albi, France (2004); ‘NOITU(LOVE)R', Castello di Ama per l'Arte Contemporanea Lecchi, Siena, Italy (2003); ‘Inferno', Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Kitakyushu Project Gallery, Fukuoka, Japan (2003); ‘TerroRealismus', Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, Zürich, Switzerland (2003); ‘Prototype, Red sniper (with Patrick Condeyns)', Grand salle, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2003); ‘Rogue States', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2003); ‘Sympathy for the Devil', Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2002); ‘Where Angels Fear to Tread', Delfina Project Space, London, England (2001); ‘Televisionaries', Württembergischer Kunstverein and Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany (2001); ‘Timbuktu', Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), Vienna, Austria (2000); ‘¡Ya Basta!', Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2000); ‘SHOOT', Inova, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2000); ‘States of Emergency', Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria (1999); ‘Heart of Darkness', South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (1999); ‘Kendell Geers', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (1999); ‘Guilty', Fort Klapperkop, Pretoria, South Africa (1998); ‘98.3', ArtPace, San Antonio, Texas (1998); ‘Heart of Darkness', Gallery in the Round, Grahamstown, South Africa (1998); ‘Memento Mori', Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art, Middelburg, The Netherlands (1997); ‘Black on the Inside' (with Neil Goedhals), ‘W.C.', Villa Arson, Nice, France (1995); ‘We are Johannesburg Artists and Nothing More', Michaelis Art Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (1994); and ‘Box Theatre', University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (1988).
Notable group exhibitions include: ‘Believe', MOCA, Toronto (2018-2019); ‘The Road to Justice', MAXXI, Rome (2018); ‘Bric-à-Brac - The Jumble of Growth', Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome (2018); ‘Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flanerie', The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia (2017); ‘All Things Being Equal...', Zeitz MOCCA, Cape Town (2017); ‘The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists', Frankfurt MMK, Frankfurt; touring to SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia; Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Correo Venezia, Venice; Hayward Gallery, London (2014-2015); ‘The Progress of Love', The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas (2012-2013) and ‘Contemplating the Void', Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010).
Geers' works are held in the permanent collections of public institutions including: Centre Pompidou, Paris; MAXXI, Rome; Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art, Stockholm; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago and ArtPace, Austin.