Restrain is a new body of work by multidisciplinary artist Brendan Fernandes. This is Fernandes’ second solo exhibition with the gallery. Drawing from his history as a trained ballet dancer, Fernandes skillfully intersects the movement and mastery of the body with contemporary art practices, while questioning the canon of ethnographic museum collections.
Inspired by his recent performance at the Guggenheim in New York City, Ballet Kink (2019), Fernandes continues to explore the role and status of the body within the contemporary art apparatus through Restrain. This unique series of cast bronze sculptures presents as bound rope, characteristic of the patterns found within Shibari bondage, a form of BDSM that skillfully utilizes ropes, knots, braids, and harnesses to bind and adorn the body, creating patterns that contrast and complement the natural form. The sculptures are suspended within custom-built armatures designed to emphasize the position each bind would have had on the absent body, confronting viewers with a truly still evocation of the body’s removal, creating monuments to the absences.
The practice of removing the body from forms recalls the artist’s early explorations of the absent bodies of African communities removed from cultural objects by western museological practice, bodies violently halted from carrying out actions of agency and resistance.