Patterns for (Re)cognition II

Vincent Meessen

Originally conceived for Kiosk in Ghent (2013) and extended as a solo presentation in the Kunsthalle Basel, the project Patterns for (Re)cognition comprises a series of collaborative works (with Kris Kimpe, Aurélie Lierman, Muriel Gerhart & Pierre Huyghebaert) in combination with an extensive number of works by the Congolese Modernist painter Thela Tendu, most of which were shown in public for the first time ever on the occasion of these shows.


Patterns for (Re)cognition
Meessen’s research-based practice often includes investigations into gaps in the writing of history, particularly colonial histories. In line with that, Meessen uses his exhibitions to present an array of modular structures, found 16-millimeter films, a sound piece, and other collected objects built around a selection of 1930s abstract paintings by the little known Congolese painter Thela Tendu (ca. 1890 – ca. 1960). Meessen acts as both featured artist and curator of what will be the largest exhibitions to date of Tendu’s abstract work (including many pieces never shown publicly before). Framing these, Meessen’s elaborate scenography for the exhibition is more than a display device, it is, in his words, a “constructivist scenario” producing the conditions for the legibility of Tendu’s stunning abstractions and the colonial history to which they testify.


Curated by Elena Filipovic

The exhibition in Basel was realised in partnership with the Royal Library of Belgium and the support of Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte. We specifically would like to thank Pierre Loos and Philippe Vandendriessche for their loans and dedication.