Kendell Geers was born in Johannesburg as Jacobus Hermanus Pieters Geers into a white working-class Afrikaans family during the time of apartheid. Rejecting everything his family and his community stood for, in 1993 he changed his name to Kendell Geers and his date of birth to May 1968 as a political act, reclaiming his identity. Becoming aware of the political struggles in his country, he ran away from home at the age of 15 to get involved in the anti-apartheid movement. Kendell finished his schooling at the end of 1984. At the beginning of 1985, to avoid conscription, he enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg for a Fine Arts degree.

In 1988, Kendell Geers was one of 143 young men who publicly refused to serve in the South African Defence Force and faced either a life in exile or six years’ imprisonment in a civilian jail. In 1989 he left South Africa and lived for a brief period in exile in the United Kingdom and New York where he worked as an assistant to artist Richard Prince.

It was only after Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners’ release from prison, that Geers could return from exile to Johannesburg without fear of being imprisoned. In 1990, he returned to Johannesburg where he worked as an artist, and art critic, curator and performance artist. The first work of art he created back on South African soil was “Bloody Hell”, a ritual washing of his white Afrikaaner Boer body with his own fresh blood. He moved to Brussels in 2000.

Kendell Geers. Photo courtesy of Stephen White
Kendell Geers
Johannesburg, 1968
South Africa

Current Exhibitions

Glasstress 2019

Fondazione Berengo Art Space

09 May — 24 Nov
Organised by Fondazione Berengo, the sixth edition of “Glasstress” brings together a new line- up of leading contemporary artists from Europe, the United States, Latin America, India, and China in an ambitious...

Past Exhibitions

The Street. Where the World is Made

Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo – MAXXI
07/12/2018 — 28/04/2019

The White Hunter. African Memories and representation

FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea
31/03/2017 — 03/06/2017

Punk. Sus rastros en el arte contemporáneo

Museo Universitario del Chopo
26/11/2016 — 26/03/2017

Acts of Sedition

WhiteBox 20/10/2016 — 09/11/2016

My Joburg

La Maison Rouge
20/06/2013 — 22/09/2013

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Johannesburg Country of birth: South Africa Date of birth: 1968 Lives in: Brussels, Belgium