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Gia Edzgveradze: The Charm of the Surface and the Grammar of the Abyss

Apr 7 - May 6, 2023

Gia Edzgveradze

8 minutes before beer (the boxer)

2021, Oil on Paper

59 x 42 cm. (23.2 x 16.5 in.)

Gia Edzgveradze’s The Charm of the Surface and the Grammar of the Abyss is made up of an array of kaleidoscopic small-sized figurative paintings and larger, near-enigmatic black-and- white canvases. The smaller works utilize brilliant colors with which Edzgveradze endows his scenographies an otherworldly spirit that is nevertheless strikingly familiar. Cerulean-blue sportive grinning men and apple-green women in contorted figures go about their day, reading books on a toilet, balancing anonymous structures on their limbs, jovially dancing in a piano lounge, navigating serpentine corridors, or playing basketball. Sometimes, we are plodded into people who appear to be grappling with states of privation, hunger-toothed smiles and carnal reaches galore. Edzgveradze’s world is, indeed, a familiar world of instruments, paintings, restaurant rooms, garments, tools, and various artefacts that are readily identifiable. However, the uncanny also perseveres, slowly pervading these works with growing thrust: faces are ultramarine or plum-purple while muscles are pulled into eerie, fantastical poses like the tightening of an over-tuned violin. Faceless man lay splayed against tennis nets, their backs arched, while hands and feet protrude across the canvass, distended and swollen like those of a ill inflated frog. The monochromatic larger works, on the other hand, tend to be tethered to geometric experimentation. Again, familiar indices float around: we can make out some loose symbols that are strikingly similar to numbers, musical notation, and a mathematical grid, but these are all also made foreign such that what, exactly, they represent is ambiguous. So, on the one hand, with the more figurative small works we have representations; with the monochromatic larger works we have represented—i.e., the numbers of a mathematical- scientific system that measure, weigh, and scaffold that which is represented. But curiously, these numbers, signs, formulas and lattices are also representations. In turn, Edzgveradze’s invites us to think about our system of representation while resisting the temptation to give us direct answers. This is not the conceptual art of Mel Bochner but a much more playful kind of mapping between the emotive, flesh-and-blood world and the rational-scientific system of thought.