Vincent Meessen / Thela Tendu

Patterns for (Re)cognition

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Vincent Meessen / Thela Tendu, installation view, Patterns for (Re)cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel

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Vincent Meessen / Thela Tendu, installation view, Patterns for (Re)cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel

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Vincent Meessen / Thela Tendu, installation view, Patterns for (Re)cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel

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Vincent Meessen / Thela Tendu, installation view, Patterns for (Re)cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel

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Vincent Meessen / Thela Tendu, installation view, Patterns for (Re)cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel

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Vincent Meessen / Thela Tendu, installation view, Patterns for (Re)cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel

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Vincent Meessen / Thela Tendu, poster for the exhibition, Patterns for (Re)cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Design: Atlas Studio

Exhibitiontext and related events (PDF)

Patterns for (Re)cognition is the first exhibition in Switzerland of the Belgian artist Vincent Meessen (*1971), who will represent Belgium at this year’s Venice Biennale. Meessen’s research­based practice often includes investigations into gaps in the writing of history, particularly colonial histories. In line with that, Meessen will use his show to present an array of modular structures, found 16­millimeter 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 here acts as both featured artist and curator of what will be the largest exhibition 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 legibility of Tendu’s stunning abstractions and the colonial history to which they testify.