Curiously the people who do not understand my work are those that only know a little about art. The audience that responds best to my proposals are either those that know absolutely nothing about art or else those that are extremely well educated. It’s important for me that my work functions almost in a kind of initiatory manner, that the more you search, the more you find. However the first experience should also be a raw and evocative one in which the first door opens to anybody who knocks.
— Kendell Geers, in an interview with Becky Hunter, Whitehot Magazine, January 2008
With a veritable forest of contemporary art associations to forge through, the artist very well means what he says as quoted above, regarding the present lot: the moderately educated viewer may look at The Fall and quickly summon the run-on text paintings of ChristopherWool, the ‘dirty’ neons of Jason Rhoades – or the tidy ones of Martin Creed – as well as those of Glenn Ligon, with all their suggestiveness.The works of Robert Indiana and Bruce Nauman, in various media, come up as well, if a brief scope of 20th century art history is admitted.
So perhaps it is only the total naïf or the very educated consumer who will stop to consider the implications of the title, and the choice of a serif font, or attempt to parse the etiology of the expletive in question, free as they are for their separate reasons to ignore the cacophony of allusions already mentioned. The Fall might refer to the fall of man from Eden, or the fall of Icarus from the Grecian sky – with Geers’s repeated use of classical references, either could be the case.The artist has also frequently used printed profanities to form all-over prints on everyday objects, with the ultimate effect of neutering the words of their power to shock or inflame, but something different is happening with the present lot. Executed in a medium valued by artisans high and low for its plasticity, transparency, and facile visual volume, The Fall can be argued to speak to the burning bush more directly than storefront signage. As a conscious iconoclast operating in an arena where every conceivable move has meaning, with the present lot Geers provides every viewer with fuel for thought – whether that mental motion proceeds in the direction the artist intended or not.