Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vincent Meessen, Thela Tendu at Kunsthalle Basel

Vincent Meessen & Thela Tendu at Kunsthalle Basel

"Meessen acts as both artist and curator of what is the largest show of Tendu’s abstractions to date in a kind of exhibition-within-the-exhibition.""All of these serve as a visual and conceptual backdrop for a selection of 1930s paintings by the little-known Congolese painter Thela Tendu" of which documentation for this show almost ignores. If you squint you might see them serving as backdrop to Meessen's sculptural masonry. Runic spells drawn on the floor, artist's today use history, signs and objects as incantations, seances to empower images having lost meaning in a culture awash with them. Objects today are displacers, deferring to some construct outside itself, an auratic other, occult, awash with meaning.

"...it took Tendu nearly a century longer to garner any major institutional attention at all. And in Tendu’s case, it only happened thanks to the initiative of another artist."