Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili “making food out of sunlight” at LC Queisser, Tbilisi

By Last Updated: May 4, 2024Views: 21

“I didn’t need any flowers, I solely needed
To lie with my arms turned up and be completely empty.
How free it’s, you don’t have any thought how free—
The peacefulness is so huge it dazes you,
And it asks nothing . . . ”
—Sylvia Plath, Tulips, 1962

The sunshine of historical past irradiates, imprinting photos on the panes of the thoughts: Precisely thirty-five years in the past, on April ninth, a peaceable pro-independence protest by college students in Tbilisi was met with the violence of the Soviet army leading to a number of deaths and accidents. Commemorated throughout Aprils since, tulips are exchanged, memoria for resistance.
On this exhibition consisting of recent dye-sublimation prints, analogue pictures, and her second movie Inside 1, Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili attenuates the variations between the private and non-private, crossing lives and areas, to gesture towards websites of resistance as a throughline in photos archiving each Georgian tradition and her personal relationship to time.

The exhibition can also be an homage to Florence Henri, a Jewish photographer residing in Berlin whose
exploration of self-portraiture and experimental floral compositions was tragically reduce brief
because of the begin of second world-war. In our time of a number of world large conflicts, the
unwavering relevance of Henri’s photogrphs, has served as a life line for Alexi-Meskhishvili.

Lengthy an important element of Alexi-Meskhishvili’s visible vocabulary, flowers on this physique of labor are a fulcrum of self and historical past. Equally political and poetic, these pictures elaborate her particular syntax of illustration and mythic vocabulary of image. She reframes the load of tulips in up to date Georgian tradition, honoring them as they go by means of varied lyric cycles from signal to nonetheless life. She made a collection of atomized compositions, she transforms objects into picture by capturing them straight on the photographic medium. Rendered as gentle and colour, ghost traces of the residing linger. These works are met by a collection of estranging self-portraits, textured within the mediated valences of analogue and digital media. Amongst mirrors and blossoms, the artist herself indexes the labor of being current in resistance to oppression when confronted by the fracturing of historical past. These self-portraits refract the gaze towards itself, a damaged mise en abyme, that conceives a imaginative and prescient of self not as some cosmos ignited, however, because the artist has written, like a witness to infinity.

In her new movie Inside, Alexi-Meskhishvili explores the fraught standing of artwork in Georgia because it persevered towards Soviet censorship. Works that didn’t characterize the goals of Socialist Realism have been typically circulated exterior of business and institutional networks by means of acts of gifting and alternate. The movie excavates the collections inside two non-public homes, together with that of Simon Virsaladze’s Home Museum. The work held inside not solely harbored formally crucial practices below the nostril of Soviet occupation, but additionally have been the witnesses to a resistance kindled in non-public earlier than taking a long time later to the streets. Right here, artwork captures magnificence and sparks dialogue, whereas additionally holding an area of resistance and memorializing the persistence to think about new potentialities.

Alexi-Meskhishvili grounds her work within the honest gesture, a transfer away from a regime of cynicism and irony. Inside such liminal imagistic prosceniums, these scattered and decorative compositions recall histories giant and small and element relations familial and international. By means of her intimate framing, these sacred interiors turn into reliquaries to the anonymous saints misplaced to tyranny. Simply as passing the flower from one to a different marks energy and solidarity towards an historic situation of oppression and limits on expression, so do the person blossoms, friable and tremulous in ontological translucencies, sign the required attendance to the fragility of peace.

—Miciah Hussey

at LC Queisser, Tbilisi
till June 16, 2024

1    Inside, 4:50 min, Cinematography by Tato Kotetishvili. Thanks to Elene Abashidze & Solomon Virsaladze home museum

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