An exhibition by Tornike Gognazde
Curated by Paula Maß (main) and Andrés Gorzycki (support)
Alte Mainzer Gasse 4-6
60311 Frankfurt am Main
For his first solo show, the artist Tornike Gognadze created a site-specific work which transforms the space of fffriedrich into a multi-room stage: several curtains, made of red wine velvet fabric, hang from the high ceiling, changing the original infrastructure of the space, dividing it into three areas. For one of them – the area, which is almost completely surrounded by curtains – the artist has built a stage platform based on wooden construction. This raised up space evokes, in logic of the public theater, the main stage.
In their materiality and colorfulness, Gognadze's (hand)sewn curtains also recall the appearance of the traditionally used main curtain of the theater, where it commonly acts as a movable, slightly glimmering partition between the stage and the audience area; its primary function is to cover (up) the stage and the transformations that take place within or behind it: erecting/reconstructing the set(s), inserting/removing the acting roles before and after the performance – or during intermissions. The still closed curtain could also be understood as projection surface for the (waiting) audience, who enlivens it with their own images, with scenes of their imagination.
In THE DREAM Gognadze seems to subvert the traditional functional logic of the curtain by reinterpreting the separation between stage and audience area, by – speaking in figurative sense – dissolving the boundaries between actors and visitors: the first area we're entering is understood by the artist as the backstage – for one moment, we're thus in the space of acting transformations, of taking on roles. In the next step(s), with our entry onto the side and main stage, we seem to be made into performers, we are conceived as part of the artistic play. But: we’re not only allowed to play the most common role of the contemplative roaming viewer; furthermore our role isn’t (pre)dictated by the artist himself.
Gognazde's idea, which underlies his extensive site-specific piece, is rather to put us under the question of how we are using the stage – not directly here, but in our life.
We are not the sole ones who (can) find a place on this exhibition stage. We share it with other essential players that take the shape of several drawings as well as of a photographic work, that – on the visible level – mostly take up motifs and/or surrealistic scenes of the theatrical, the personal stage(d) spectacles. This manifests itself most concentrated in the exhibition-named drawing “The Dream“: it shows us another stage; the stage of a mouse, that takes on the role of nutcracker. The seats in front of the stage are empty; there is nobody (in the painting) who is examining the mouse. By displaying this painting and thus the nutcrackered-mouse we, as visitors, might be – for one moment – thrown back by the artist into the “traditional“ role of contemplative glimpsing audience. Or: Are we being subjected to role questioning again?
“The Dream“ as well as the other paintings, shown here in fffriedrich for their first time to the public, are understood by the artist in sense of diary pages. Writing down or illustrating our daily life or most secret thoughts is something we do alone, in our private sphere(s); usually we wanna hide this – the diary and the private rooms – from the public eye. Especially the domestic curtains seem to fulfill our wish of this privateness, of intimacy. Their function is – in difference to the one of the theater – shielding ourselves from the outside world; we seem to try a separation between the inside (private) and the outside (public) with it. With regard to this, it may not be surprising, that the artists paintings weren't – at first – meant to be staged in public.
With having this in mind, the tone of this exhibition strives into another direction. There is now this moment of tension, no longer just between the public stage and the audience, whose boundaries seem to be questioned here, moving between the role-playing(s) of performers/visitors/audience; now there is popping up this tensional play between the stages of public and private in the interface of the showing/hiding-ambivalence of the curtain.
Text: Paula Maß
Georgian artist Tornike Gognadze (*1999) studied at the VA[A]DS in Tbilisi, Georgia until 2020. Since 2021 he is student at Städelschule (Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt am Main) in the class of Tobias Rehberger. His works have already been shown in several group exhibitions, including the duo show LAST SONG – DAWN/SINGING ROCK at Gallery 4710, Tbilisi, Georgia (18.09.–07.10.2021); the online group show HETEROTOPIA as part of MAFA International Festival, London, UK (January 2021); the group show THREE COURSE MENU at gallery space fffriedrich, (05.07–10.07.2022); the group exhibition TRAJECTORY OF THOUGHTS/UNARCHIVED SEMIOTICS at Art House Gori, Georgia (2022). Furthermore one of his sculptural works is part of permanent exhibition at Ria, Keburia Foundation Sculpture Park (since 01.2021).
An exhibition by Tornike Gognazde
Accompanied by text work from Linus Berg
Curated by Paula Maß
Photos: Esra Klein
Poster: Arnaud Ferron