Critics’ Picks

Thea Djordjadze, Ma Sa i a ly e a se – de, 2015, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Thea Djordjadze, Ma Sa i a ly e a se – de, 2015, mixed media, dimensions variable.


Thea Djordjadze

South London Gallery
65 - 67 Peckham Road / 82 Peckham Road
October 2–November 29, 2015

An aesthetics of recovery and recollection animates Thea Djordjadze’s installation Ma Sa i a ly e a se – de, 2015, which alternates between austere sculptural reliefs and floor works constructed from reclaimed timber, paint, and Plexiglas. Djordjadze’s surfaces resemble platforms, evoking stage set, shelf, kitchen table—structures used on a day-to-day basis, hosts of human activity. These platforms, however, are without subjects or objects to support, and each stands so low to the ground it seems to be sliding into some indistinguishable plane where the ground merges with its setting.

Placed lengthwise against the east wall of the gallery is a large platform modeled after interiors of western Georgia (from which Djordjadze hails). Here, the viewer is invited to sit. A transparent Plexiglas sheet is slotted and placed upright within a small notch. One side of its surface includes a thin wash of blue paint, which swoops lengthwise across the plane of the material. To place the Plexiglas surface upright is to accentuate the residual obstinacy of the mark in contrast to the transparency of the surface. This painterly gesture stains the scene—appearing as faint as it does defiant.

In one corner of the gallery, angular blocks of timber have been shaped into hieroglyphic forms. For this particular relief, Djordjadze sourced her material from a disused ladder recovered from the back room of the gallery. As if to cite the ladder’s former life, these glyphs hang high above the viewer’s eye. Echoing the enigmatic brokenness of Djordjadze’s title, each arrangement gestures toward a code whose language has been jumbled.