April 14, 2007 - BPS22, Hainaut Province’s Art Museum - Kendell Geers
April 14, 2007

Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers, Monument to the Unknown Anarchist, 2007

Kendell Geers
Auto-Da-Fé

17 March-3 June 2007

B.P.S.22 space for contemporary creation
22, boulevard Solvay
6000 Charleroi, Belgium
Phone: 00 32 71 27 29 71
Fax: 00 32 71 27 29 70

bps22.hainaut.be

Since its opening in 2000, the B.P.S.22 space for contemporary creation of the Province of Hainaut, in Belgium, has always given priority to the forms of contemporary expression that focus on our current society. Therefore, the exhibitions programme attaches particular importance to those artists who treat global issues or socio-cultural phenomena, typical of our time (e.g. Jota Castro, Patrick Everaert, Johan Muyle or Fernando Alvim and Simon Njamis project Next Flag. Reexistencia cultural generalizada). Conscious that curatorship today depends upon a local re-contextualisation of global issues, the B.P.S.22 team approaches its projects from a critical perspective of the world we live in today. This concept of culture as a vector of democracy also determines the museums acquisition policy. The collection is not only comprised of old art (e.g. Constantin Meunier) or modern art (e.g. René Magritte), but also a number of contemporary works (e.g. Félix Gmelin, Art & Language, Deimantas Narkevicius). This mutual relationship offers an original perspective. By the end of 2008, the B.P.S.22 will become a permanent contemporary art museum.
Currently the B.P.S.22 is hosting the first solo exhibition in Belgium of the South African artist Kendell Geers. At each of his exhibitions, Kendell Geers draws his inspiration from the regional context to nourish his thoughts. For the exhibition of Charleroi, two distinct subjects, which can nonetheless be linked, emerged through historical anecdotes: the political use of violence and the fire. The first comes from a legend according to which two members of the Bonot gang, Edouard Carouy and Octave Garnier, are supposed to have lived in Charleroi, at the beginning of the last century, before joining the famous French anarchist. The second gave the exhibition its title, Auto-Da-Fe, in reference to King Charles II of Spain who, in 1666, had a fortress, named Charle-roy in his honour, erected in the village of Charnoy. In addition, Charles II was the backer of the largest auto-da-fé of the Spanish Inquisition.

The theme of fire, in the context of Charleroi, acquires a special connotation by referring to the industry whose high furnaces form an integral part of the landscape and the history. The historical ambivalence of fire, at the same time purifier and destroyer, is rediscovered in the allusion to the industrial landscape, where fire retains the same double meaning. This subject also serves as the guiding principle for the scenography which, thanks to the flexibility of the enormous stage (1200 meters squared) B.P.S.22 offers, is reconsidered for each exhibition and transforms the space.

Originally from Johannesburg in South Africa, Kendell Geers was profoundly affected by apartheid. He will always bear the guilt of this shameful past that he incorporates into his art. Provocative, through his works he inevitably approaches moral and political problems, while setting up critical reflection on the context of art, his methods of exhibition, on the artistic institution and its actors. A multidisciplinary artist, he creates objects, installations, and video works and gives performances. A product of his times, he explores and critiques our world head on, while putting people on guard against the alienation, subversive or obvious, that the objects, the images and the situations of our daily life can generate.

This exhibition results from a co-production between B.P.S.22 (Charleroi), the S.M.A.K. (Ghent), the Baltic (Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon and the MART (Trento). On the occasion of this cycle of exhibitions, a new catalogue will be published in June 2007 (texts : Paulo Herkenhof, Christine Macel, Rudy Langmans and Jérôme Sans).

Contacts and information also available at our website: bps22.hainaut.be

B.P.S.22 space for contemporary creation
22, boulevard Solvay
6000 Charleroi, Belgium
Phone: 00 32 71 27 29 71
Fax: 00 32 71 27 29 70

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