For her solo exhibition at the South London Gallery, Thea Djordjadze has created an entirely new sculptural installation in direct response to the main gallery space. It represents the latest step in her practice which she approaches as a continuous process of reconfiguring earlier works into fresh iterations, combined with entirely new sculptures made from materials accumulated in her studio. Here, however, for the first time all the components in the exhibition have been newly made, but in an evolution of thought that is inextricably linked with her previous methodology.
Djordjadze spends time in the spaces she works, absorbing their particular character then subtly transforming them into installations which defy definitive categorisation, hinting at domestic and functional potential but ultimately remaining resolutely sculptural. Using materials she has found in and around the South London Gallery building - planks of wood, an old staircase, floorboards, sheets of plexi-glass, plaster and paint - supplemented by others inspired by the material and atmospheric qualities of the space observed in the course of making the work, Djordjadze has created an installation which gently but thoroughly infiltrates our reading and negotiation of the room.
Inspired by traditional village dwellings in West Georgia, in which raised wooden platforms delineated the area where most domestic activity took place, a low, broad structure spans the entire 20 metre length of the gallery. This gesture alone gently shifts our perspective on the space, simultaneously prompting the question of how, if at all, it should be used. Elsewhere, painted panels of wood inject shots of colour onto the whiteness of the space, indicative of an underlying enquiry into painterly composition but equally meddling with expectations around materials, function and form. Djordjadze genuinely extends the language of sculpture, testing the scope of the very specifically selected materials she employs to generate new formal structures laden with unexpected potential.
Thea Djordjadze, born in 1971 in Tbilisi, Georgia and currently based in Berlin, is the recipient of the second Outset Artist Residency at the SLG. She studied at the art academies in Tbilisi, Gerrit Rietveld in Amsterdam, and Kunstakademie Düsseldorf recently with Rosemarie Trockel. Her works have been presented in numerous solo exhibitions both in Germany and abroad, including shows at the MIT Cambridge (2014), the Aspen Art Museum (2013), Malmö Konsthall (2012), The Common Guild Glasgow (2011), the Kunsthalle Basel (2009) and the Kunstverein Nürnberg (2008). In addition, there have been important group exhibitions such as the BB5 – 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art (2008) as well as the dOCUMENTA 13 (2012) and the Venice Biennale (2015). Upcoming solo shows include Moma PS1 (2016) as well as Secession Vienna (2016).