Seven Art Limited is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the New York-based artist Brendan Fernandes. In recent work, Fernandes investigates the dilemmas and codes that language create through ethnicity and sub-culture, where language becomes codified and creates barriers that allow for understanding within specific groups and communities. He explores the way in which language is used to maintain imbalances of power within society, how it is altered with the processes of migration and history and the inadequacies of language to communicate.
For his first exhibition in India, Fernandes will present a recent video work entitled, "Devil’s Noise" which was conceived and produced during a residency at the prestigious German new media academy ZKM alongside a new set of neon wall sculptures. This body of work revolves around the student protest of 1976 in South Africa where student groups peacefully protested against the imposition of the Afrikaans language within the school system, effectively barring much of the population from participation. The protests ended up in a violent upraising when police opened fire on the students, causing riots in the city of Johannesburg. The artist is interested in the notion of silence as a mean of protest, where in contemporary South Africa many Black South Africans don't speak Afrikaans as a means of acknowledging their history of oppression. The Devil’s Noise depicts a selection of close-up pictures of the artist's face where he is making distinct facial gestures, synced with the sound of white noise. The edited sound begins to sound like an animalistic hiss or growl. The work is further punctuated by a running text across the mouth of the artist's portrait, the text is a poem written by the artist that articulates the sentiment of the initial protest and uses phrases from protest signs held by the students. The wall works in neon show formations of the word "noise" broken into strokes so that the word is never fully rendered. As they flash they form nonsensical patterns that look like hieroglyphics or codes. The pulsation of light acts a type of noise without sound.
Brendan Fernandes was born in Kenya of Indian heritage and immigrated to Canada in 1989. He completed the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007) and earned his MFA (2005) from The University of Western Ontario and his BFA (2002) from York University in Canada. He has been included in numerous international exhibitions including those at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Art and Design New York, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Andy Warhol Museum and The Art Gallery of York University. He recently held a solo exhibition at Diaz Contemporary in Toronto, Canada.