KIOSK hosts Quiet speech in wide circulation, Georgian artist Thea Djordjadze’s (Tbilisi, 1971) first ever solo show in Belgium. The exhibition’s title refers to the venue’s original function as an anatomical theatre, where even the slightest whisper resonates throughout the room.
The artist has forged flat, lean structures that take over the hemicycle’s floor surface as an offset to the impressive architecture with its upward neo-classicist dome. These steel supports covered with iron, glass or plaster invite to be interpreted as a kind of deck chairs, as on a sun deck, for the visitor to lie down on, taking the time to let the sculptures present themselves. Imagination takes over and reveals numerous formal associations between individual works, and between the entire set and the space housing it.
Malleable materials like plaster, carpeting, foam rubber and felt are supported and surrounded by steel and glass structures which refer to classical modernist aesthetics. Their stark linearity contrasts sharply with the organic and amorphous, ‘unfinished’ surfaces. All of these elements combine together to form a very specifically balanced amalgam of materials, shapes and sculptured or found objects that are being morphed into a new, metaphysical entity. The artist’s traces remain emphatically present in the result; they attest to the preceding and ongoing spatial and sculptural investigation, to a ritual of continuous reinterpretation of objects and definitive manipulation of materials.
The sculptures, whose modest sizes belie their confident presence, seem to function as objects of study to the artist, objects that can be juxtaposed no sooner than in the specific exhibition space; tentatively feeling each other’s temporariness and fragility and engaging in a steady dialogue with the room. A reciprocal whispering goes round the room and turns the visitor to face his own position. A predominantly corporeal understanding is sparked by an orchestrated interplay between the work’s physical presence, that of the visitor and the circular space that acts as the setting. Much like an object falling in water and drawing concentric circles on its surface, so Djordjadze seems to encircle the KIOSK space, her sculptures, and the visitor in a single movement, directing an encounter that can only be understood in its impenetrability.
Images courtesy of Kiosk, Ghent. Photos by Yana Foque.