Critics’ Picks

View of “Harmonic Enterprise,” 2019.

View of “Harmonic Enterprise,” 2019.


Keti Kapanadze

Galerie Gisela Clement
Lotharstraße 104 GALERIEHAUS
February 1–March 14, 2019

The international art scene has been acquainted with artists from Georgia for several years now, but an earlier generation active since the late ’70s remains largely unknown. Among them is Keti Kapanadze, who was one of the first women to question her role within the male-dominated milieu of the socialist realist style in Georgia, a former Soviet Union republic. The conceptually informed work of Kapanadze—who left Georgia for Bonn, Germany, in 2000—encompasses photography, performance, and installation, and a selection of her multifaceted practice is on view in this exhibition. In the three-minute video In a Pocket’s Wrinkle, 2009, one sees a close crop of a horse’s legs competing in dressage, its movements jaunty and energetic yet not without a trace of melancholia. (The viewer knows there is no hope for rerouting, only retracing, the animal’s predetermined movements.)

Opposite the video hang two life-size figural (but faceless) sculptures, Alien groß (Large Alien) and Alien klein (Small Alien), both 2018. These readymades, sourced from eBay, look like two-dimensional human targets from a shooting range, though their marionette-like limbs also resemble a music box’s paper puppet. Their plastic appendages, connected by brightly colored ball joints, echo the horse’s legs and their movements from the aforementioned video and together seem to allude to how humans, like animals, are manipulated and trained.

Also on view is Kapanadze’s Harmonic Enterprise #2, 2016. The black-and-white photograph of an apartment full of stacked chairs is part of an ongoing series begun in 2016, titled “Harmonic Enterprise.” For it, the artist visits the dwellings of friends and acquaintances and gives herself eight minutes—the amount of time it takes a sunray to reach Earth—to rearrange the room before taking a picture. In this way, she delves into people’s private spheres only to turn their identities on their heads. After all, as she writes on the wall in polished nickel: “WE ARE ONLY VOICES OF OUR OTHER SELVES FOREVER LOST IN A JAM MILLIONS OF SELFS.”

Translated from German by Diana Reese.