Inspired by both African Art (Lega, Songye and Grebo) and their influence on the European Avant-garde (Picasso, Léger, Malevich, Gauguin and Matisse) the artist has created a series of large scale bronzes, drawings and paintings for the exhibition AfroPunk. The exhibition is a joint effort featuring traditional and contemporary art, symbolising the importance of African Art on the European tradition. The didier Claes gallery recently moved from downtown to the upper part of the city, in the Avenue Louise district, a district that has become the home of the best modern and contemporary art galleries in Brussels, including rodolphe janssen gallery. The contemporary artworks will be presented at the rodolphe janssen’s gallery and the traditional objects at didier Claes’ area.
A dialogue between cultures
Didier Claes about his project: "I proposed Kendell Geers to look at some of the objects from my collection from his angle as an artist. I gave him ‘carte blanche’, he was free and there were no limitations. This selection of historical works reflects my personal aesthetics which I try to transmit to the collectors who I propose my pieces to. I have three works by Kendell in my private collection. I was interested to see how he could get inspired and interact directly with these traditional African objects. "
‘AfroPunk’ is an exhibition in two parts, a dialogue with history and tradition. New paintings, drawings and bronze sculptures will be exhibited alongside traditional works of art in both rodolphe janssen gallery and didier Claes gallery. Kendell Geers used cutting edge technology to scan and 3D print rare African masks that had been collected by the artist- collector, Willy Mestach. Geers questions the possibility whether spirit can be transferred from one form into another; A scan and 3D print of a Songye mask might hold the memory of the original mind. For Geers, the most pressing issue that art faces today is the reanimation of spirit, to return art to its spiritual function, the intercessor between worlds.
Following the Punk and Dada traditions, Geers uses 3D printer like Hannah Hoch used her scissors to create her collages and the way Marcel Duchamp collected objects found objects to transform them into existential questions about ethics and aesthetics. The paintings and drawings are also made from reworked and transformed scans and prints. The result is neither African Art, not European Art, but a dialogue between cultures, a dialogue that is as much about Picasso as it is about Traditional African Art. ‘AfroPunk’ is a meditation on reading, an exorcism of subject, form and tradition, images located at the boundary between our expectations and the limits of our experience.