At Kendell Geers’ press walkabout for his show Third World Disorder at Goodman Cape, he spoke about becoming more superstitious as he grows older. Superstition is an appropriate metaphor for art making. A black cat isn’t a black cat, but an omen. Similarly, a sculpture isn’t a sculpture, but a way to save the world, or an investigation into society, or an alchemical reaction. Superstition is both an irrational interpretation of a sign and narrowing of the signs’ meanings. A black cat will always be an omen, never a sweet pet to be loved and given milk.
In Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, the superstitious meaning of the world is guarded by an illuminati, and it takes a maverick outsider (but with special talents in understanding signs) in the service of truth to expose the singular meaning. Too bad it is a lovable fiction: in reality, in art meaning is nebulous. The relationship between a hexagram, the number six, the sixth letter of the alphabet and the F word is tenuous at best, but possibly just plain illegible.
This was an observation from hearing Geers talk and I wonder how I would have seen the show if I had gone in blind. That is the problem with looking at works by Geers: the force of his personality precedes him, which really makes it difficult to separate criticism from vitriol. Perhaps Stevie Wonder says it best: Superstition