Rodolphe Janssen, a Bastion of the Belgian Gallery Scene
Image rights: Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
Incorporating language, ready-mades, broken glass, film, performance, and other elements, Kendell Geers creates work that disrupts social norms and codes. Employing a wide range of references—from art history to pornography, iconography to kitsch—Geers questions the value of aesthetics and thumbs his nose at the concept of originality. Laden with complex political references to racial or religious stereotypes, his work is challenging, confrontational, and, at the same time, humorous. His earliest and best-known work has its origins in the artist’s anti-Apartheid activities and subsequent exile from South Africa, incorporating the harsh visual and performative language of activism—in Title Withheld (Brick) (1994/96), Geers threw a brick through a gallery window; in Title Withheld (Deported) (1993/97), he constructed a charged electric fence to cordon off a gallery space from visitors. Geers made a splash in 1993 when he urinated in Marcel Duchamp’s iconic Fountain.
South African, b. 1968, Johannesburg, South Africa, based in Brussels, Belgium