Brendan Fernandes

  • Exterior shot of two window washers with a meeting in progress in the background.
  1. Long Two people perform in an empty outdoor parking lot, one lunging and one leaning back, with their arms extended forward and wrists flexed. They seem to face each other, but the masculine person is closer to you and the feminine person is several paces further back. Their dark skin is highlighted by bright sunlight shining toward you that casts their shadows on the asphalt. The sky is blue and palm trees are in the background.
Brendan Fernandes, I’m Down, 2017. Performance, printed matter (T-shirts, banners, placards, and posters), and mural. Photo: Maria Martin, courtesy of the 18th Street Art Centre.
Brendan Fernandes, We As One. Performance and hand-painted window sign. Pictured: Christopher DeVita and Oisin Monaghan. Photo: Chuka Chukuma, courtesy of Mixed Greens Gallery.
Brendan Fernandes, Hit Back. Performance and installation (series of open dance rehearsals, customizable dance platforms, original costumes, coat hangers, clothing racks, and sound). Pictured: John Alix, Khadija Griffith, and Oisin Monaghan. Photo: Wendy Ploger, courtesy of Recess, NY.
Brendan Fernandes, produced in collaboration with More Art, Clean Labour. Performance. Photo: Julian Cassady.
Brendan Fernandes, I’m Down, 2017. Performance, printed matter (T-shirts, banners, placards, and posters), and mural. Photo: Maria Martin, courtesy of the 18th Street Art Centre.
Brendan Fernandes, produced in collaboration with More Art, Clean Labour. Performance. Photo: Chester Toye, courtesy of the Wythe Hotel.
Brendan Fernandes, Hit Back. Performance and installation (series of open dance rehearsals, customizable dance platforms, original costumes, coat hangers, clothing racks, and sound). Pictured: John Alix, Khadija Griffith, and Oisin Monaghan. Photo: Wendy Ploger, courtesy of Recess, NY.
Exterior shot of two window washers with a meeting in progress in the background.
  1. Long A large glass window seen from outside during during a dark part of the day frames two young men in white jumpsuits. The young men, each on one side of the landscape oriented image, are rubbing white cloths agains the window as if they are cleaning it. A white ceiling lit with canned silver lights illuminates a table with three suited male figures seated on gray chairs. There are stemmed glasses visible on the table, suggesting a business dinner or catered meeting.
Brendan Fernandes, produced in collaboration with More Art, Clean Labour. Performance. Photo: Julian Cassady.

About the exhibition

Brendan Fernandes’s dance-based installation in the Commons explores the ways that society sees—and values—different kinds of bodies. Using language, architecture, and gesture to understand the nature of being seen, the artist encourages dancers and visitors to collaborate and generate new forms of physical language that move and attract other bodies in space.

Fernandes (Kenyan, b. 1979) seeks to isolate everyday actions, considering individuals’ body movements in social spaces as a kind of choreography. Over the course of the exhibition, the artist poses the question: How do the shapes of our bodies and our physical proximity to others affect our sense of visibility?

In the Commons a series of prompts for actions, choreographed gestures, dance parties, and talks invite visitors to explore together the ways that our appearances and movements convey social meaning in the urban environment.

The Commons Artist Project: Brendan Fernandes is organized by January Parkos Arnall, Curator of Public Programs, with Christy LeMaster, Assistant Curator of Public Programs.

The Commons Artist Project is a biannual exhibition series that provides a platform for artists to create commissioned installations that consider the big issues of our time. The projects provide direct opportunities for visitors to interact with the works and ideas of local and regional artists of national recognition.