Critics’ Picks

David Meskhi, Dance, 2021, permanent pigment print on hanemuhle baryt paper, 23 1/2 x 17".

David Meskhi, Dance, 2021, permanent pigment print on hanemuhle baryt paper, 23 1/2 x 17".


David Meskhi

Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum
14, M. Kostava St. Stamba Hotel
December 23, 2021–February 28, 2022

The defining moments of evolutionary history have often occurred when an organism exchanged one space (let’s say water) for another (the land or the sky.) To imagine the body anew, sometimes we simply need to alter the environment in which it exists. David Meskhi’s series “Color of Weightlessness,” 2016-21, poses an existential as well as physiological query: who would we be if we could fly? Diverging from the artist’s earlier projects When the Earth Seems to be Light, 2006-2016, and Higher, 2004-2011, the images here stray even further from documentation. While Meskhi returns to his recurrent subject matter (athletes training in a gymnasium), we can barely recognize either the figures or their settings. Close-up shots of bodies suspended in midair against uniform backgrounds only partially reveal the individuals captured on camera. With this intentional ambiguity, Meskhi frees both the body and its world from singular definitions, making them both literally and figuratively weightless.

There is a meditative slowness to the pacing of the installation, which displays photographs both hung on the walls and laid flat on low benches. Meskhi pairs his shots of gymnasts with images of the moon or moonlike surfaces. This juxtaposition emphasizes the luminous qualities of the athletes’ bodies, so that they almost read as celestial entities themselves. The artist further infuses the industrial architecture with otherworldliness through the inclusion of the sound piece, Full of Sun, 2021, by Nika Kocharov. Through this combination of both lens-based and sonic media, Meskhi depicts the human body ever striving to break gravity’s hold.