Brendan Fernandes (curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah)
We As One
Special Performance: November 3, 6-8pm
Mixed Greens is excited to present We As One, a site-specific performance and installation by Brooklyn-based artist Brendan Fernandes. Fernandes will transform the 26th street windows into a public stage featuring a text work applied by a contracted window painter and erased by choreographed dancers. The exhibition highlights the influence of movement, codified language, and mark making on our worldview through iterative dialogue.
For this installation, Fernandes revisits his past career as a dancer by spearheading a choreographed live performance at the gallery. Prior to the performance, in early September, a window painter will render the text “We Move” on Mixed Greens’ windows. On November 3, the work will be removed by dancers through loosely choreographed movements. The text work featured in the exhibition is inspired by slogans such as “We Move Together,” speaking to the notion of collectivity and solidarity while simultaneously subverting the notion of bodies physically moving in unison. It also refers to the reality that Mixed Greens will close at the end of 2015. The text signifies the state of flux for the gallery and its artists.
While We As One continues Fernandes’ exploration of dance and performance as tools to decode the language of movement, it has an added social dimension that raises questions beyond the formal and physical. The manual gesture of rendering and removing text questions the value of labor between the window painter and window washers (dancers). It also references the history of Chelsea as a place where working class industry existed in the not-so-distant past, transformed into a place where expensive art is purchased today.
Brendan Fernandes utilizes his personal and cultural dislocation–an Indian born in Kenya and raised in Canada—as source material for his artistic practice. He seeks to answer “Who Am I?” by investigating the constant fluctuation of identity via concepts of migration, codified language, and movement from the perspective of being a former dancer, queerness, and the cultural ideologies that shape how we view the world and engage with each other. He completed the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (2007), and received an MFA from the University of Western Ontario (2005), and a BFA from York University in Canada (2002). He has exhibited internationally and nationally at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, Art in General, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada, The Studio Museum in Harlem, MASS MoCA, The Andy Warhol Museum, the Art Gallery of York University, and Deutsche Guggenheim. He is a 2014 recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Residency Fellowship.
Larry Ossei-Mensah is a Ghanaian-American independent curator and writer who has documented cultural happenings for various publications such as Uptown and Whitewall Magazine. His writings include profiles of Swizz Beatz, Mickalene Thomas, Lorna Simpson, Kehinde Wiley, and street artist JR. As a curator, Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. Ossei-Mensah currently serves on Russell Simmons’ RUSH Artist Advisory Board, the Young Collectors Council Acquisitions Committee at the Guggenheim Museum, and is a member of The Friends of Education of the MoMA.
Special thanks to Veronica Jackson and Gayle O’Byrne, Leah Menna (window painter), Christopher DeVita and Oisín Monaghan (dancers).
For more information, please visit brendanfernandes.ca
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