Thea Djordjadze: framing yours making mine – Sprüth Magers, London

© Thea Djordjadze/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024
Art Martin Cid Magazine
Art Martin Cid Magazine

Thea Djordjadze’s temporary sculptural environments draw on the language of architecture, allude to modernist design, or echo the culture of her native Georgia. She combines a variety of artistic, industrial and unconventional materials to produce idiosyncratic works full of contrasts. Djordjadze frequently reconfigures her works for the duration of an exhibition to respond to the particularities of the spaces in which they are installed. Investigating institutional modes of presentation and display, she raises questions about how context influences the interpretation and perception of art. Sprüth Magers is pleased to present Djordjadze’s fresh, site-specific iterations of earlier sculptures combined with entirely new works in her solo exhibition, framing yours making mine, spanning two floors of the London gallery.

The artist picks up the threads of the body of work created for her 2023 exhibition The ceiling of a courtyard at WIELS, Brussels, continuing to expand the vocabulary of her sculptural paintings and painterly sculptures. Previous works are choreographed anew and combined with her latest works in the context of the gallery’s eighteenth- century building and its original architectural features, which Djordjadze has transformed by blurring its spatial boundaries. Typifying a fundamental element of her work, framing yours making mine is defined by the principle of all things being interconnected. In Djordjadze’s sparely staged shows, spaces and objects are constantly reconsidered: walls and floors are covered, benches and display cases are recontextualised, illustrating how an object is related to the thing in its proximity, the space surrounding it and the associations attached to it.

Devising her installations in situ and often modifying the work until the last minute before an opening, Djordjadze’s artistic process ensures her works escape the rigidness often determined by institutional processes. The artwork assumes its ‘final’ form only for a short period, inevitably questioning Western understanding of the cultural artefact and its presentation. This approach to art-making involves a degree of openness—Djordjadze incorporates extrinsic factors and yet refuses to attach them to a particular time and space in history. Instead, they are concerned with materialising time and rearranging it: adapting artworks created in the past for the present, fundamentally changing the way they are experienced. Time is employed both as material and as tool.

Djordjadze engages with the genius loci, the spirit of a space, which sets the tone for her installations. The works—made of wood, glass, plaster, linoleum, stainless steel and aluminium—are carefully placed to incorporate the peculiarities of a place. Utilising, for example, both natural and artificial light to create shadows or reflections, as well as leaving visible otherwise hidden objects relating to building safety. In consequence, viewers are directed to react to the architecture and move in certain ways: to consider the walls, windows, floor and ceiling. Djordjadze’s methodology for investigating the relationship between object and body is based on movement and motion. She thinks of sculpture as gesture, one gesture leading to the next. This physical relationship is inscribed in the works’ material details, which often reveal the process of their creation: imprints on malleable matter and marks on manipulated surfaces acknowledge the bodily gestures that made them.

The allusive installations elude clear-cut definition. Decidedly ambiguous and hybrid in quality, the works on view imply domestic and practical qualities but nevertheless remain sculptures in a state of transition. Framing yours making mine poignantly highlights the ongoing process of seeing and understanding that drives the creation and affects the experience of the works.

Thea Djordjadze (*1971, Tbilisi) lives and works in Berlin. Selected solo exhibitions include WIELS, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels (2023), Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMC), Saint-Etienne (2022), Gropius Bau, Berlin (2021), Kunst Museum Winterthur (2019), Portikus, Frankfurt (2018), Pinakothek der Moderne, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich (2017), Secession Wien, Vienna (2016), MoMA PS1, New York (2016), South London Gallery (2015), MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (2014), Aspen Art Museum, CO (2013), Malmö Konsthall (2012), The Common Guild Glasgow (2011), Kunsthalle Basel (2009) and Kunstverein Nürnberg/Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, Nuremberg (2008). In addition, important group exhibitions include Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2023), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2022), Tai Kwun-Centre for Heritage and Arts, Hongkong (2020), Deichtorhallen Hamburg (2019), Triennale di Milano (2017), Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich (2017), 56th Venice Biennale (2015), Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2014), 55th Venice Biennale (2013), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013), Documenta 13, Kassel (2012), Sculpture Center, New York (2011), Hayward Gallery, London (2010) and the 5th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2008).

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