with a silent ‘r’. i’ve been sneezing all through this ‘amsterdam art weekend’. not from catching a cold, but from exposure to everyone’s art issues.
it’s a bit like sitting through a group therapy session but not participating; each and every artist struggling through their own anguish, celebrating their own crisis. some get their issues out successfully, while others meander through mediums and never get to the point.
these include the ubiquitous identity anxieties and autobiographical events all clinically presented in painting, performance, drawing and sculpture or video; naturally with a walkthrough and a price tag courtesy of the art establishment.
another problem with modern art criticism; it’s been democratised to the point where everyone is acknowledged and everyone gets nursed. the blurred lines between hobby and art has produced a new level of mediocrity and while both are in a way therapeutic, what distinguishes them becomes increasingly difficult to diagnose.
i may be biased towards kendell geers, being from the same place and also having known his politically driven work for the longest time, but his consistency and determination definitely plays a role in the fact that it remains inspiringly valid, or perhaps it’s because his exploration is rooted in a deeper layer of our psyche; fear and anger.
although the south african historical theme is ever present, the metaphors evoked in these works point rather to a more primitive human conflict. it confronts rather than just documents; as the fetish symbol of power indirectly challenge our spiritual struggles.
perhaps the accompanying over-explanation of the title and preachy manifesto distracted a bit from the emotive quality of the work and is more suited to an educational art-school-student-trip, still the wallpaper backing and broken bottle wall did much to contextualise the show.