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Thea Djordjadze: THE COMMON GUILD.

While Berlin-based Thea Djordjadze's practice centers on sculptural concerns, it also deals in a language of rhythm and movement that frames the performative aspects of an artist's production process. Djordjadze's works are often at odds with the fragility of the plates, clay, or other materials she commonly employs, yet she avoids the irony usually associated with their offhand use. Her handling is sincere and refreshing, calling for an interpretation that goes beyond a simple identification of anonymous shapes and happenstance configurations. Her use of hard materials--usually metal or wood--alongside soft, gestural renderings evinces a dialogue that concerns form as much as the act or gesture performed to create it.


In her recent exhibition "Lost Promise in a Room," at the Common Guild--an autonomous exhibition space housed on two floors of Douglas Gordon's upmarket Glasgow digs--the domestic setting underscored these qualities. Abstention from movement; while the world moves in appetency, on its metalled ways, 2011, shown in the gallery's largest space, consisted of sculptural fragments spread out across the floor and in--as well as on top of--the fireplace. The dominant form was a large offcut of light blue carpet smeared with plaster and white paint, while the other solid and absolute forms inhabiting the room on metal frames encased smaller, more delicate plaster makings. The enigmatic swoops of (seemingly still drying) plaster that patterned the carpet bore the imprint of fingers and palms, serving as evidence of the work's making and capturing the excesses of the creative process. Thus the piece is neither an object in its own right nor a record of a physical act, but possibly both--with all the significance of this indefinite state. Yet the efforts employed to execute this mark-making are vividly clear, and our empathy toward this messy, childlike exploration of plaster's mass and changing density is an impulsive draw.

Djordjadze's works sat comfortably in this suspended state throughout the building, as if her presence was caught in the blur of a photograph taken on a long exposure--ever present but indistinguishable. Just like the large mirror over the fireplace (a permanent fixture of the gallery), a number of shiny, mirrored, four-legged constructions reflected views of the room's interior. Trailing down the stairwell and into the hall below, other plaster works were also records of the acts that formed them; sitting inconspicuously at chest height, for example, Untitled, 2009, bore the impressions of objects once squashed into its surface. Quick now, here, now, always, 2011, swept along the floor, its steel frame and plaster curves echoing the natural flow of movement through the building. Thanks to their simple forms and materials, Djordjadze's sculptures evoke a comfortingly familiar cohabitation with the viewer, yet her discourse is complex, calling on the subtleties of space, domestic or otherwise, and the influence it has on our wants and the needs of the creative process.
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Title Annotation:Lost Promise in a Room
Author:Cairns, Steven
Publication:Artforum International
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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