The two artists introduced here for the festival at Galerie Hubert Winter this September—Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili and Carrie Yamaoka—use painting-adjacent processes towards photographic ends … or is it a photographic protocol conjuring painterly results? Borderline indeed (as Maximilian Geymüller states in his “Curated by …” proposal). Carrie Yamaoka’s astute observation of the pairing with Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili was that it is “photography-proximate.” Forging (but not forcing) a dialogue between two artists who explore pictorial phenomenology through photography, painting, sculpture and installation invites a meaningful and complex exchange, much like the active strategies Yamaoka and Alexi-Meskhishvili apply—printing, peeling, playing—with tone (mass and half), drone (reverb and cerebral) and hefty with impulsive, nimble, formal attitude. Mass Tone.
Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili draws on the world around her, at the studio, at home, on the road, splitting her time between Berlin and Tbilisi. Images are captured, conveyed and layered using both analogue and digital devices, generating uncropped C-types, pigment prints and transparent cotton voile (“veils” to use the artist’s term) from a 4 x 5 negative. Recycled motifs appear throughout—friends, family, patterns, streetscapes—Alexi-Meskhishvili, who identifies as a photographer, manages a stagecraft that presents as an environmental choreography.
Carrie Yamaoka, presses her “negative”—a transparent pressure sensitive material—directly onto the wall; at times she pours her “film” (resin with dry pigment) into a mold; often Yamaoka layers unexpected, industrial materials (vinyl, mylar, bubble wrap) to achieve reflective, absorbing, mysterious overlays that transmit a sense of the duration of a process undertaken luring a viewer into prolonged contact. It is not subterfuge, per se, it is temporal photomechanical reproduction in its rawest form. Yamaoka’s surfaces appear to “crawl” (in her words), to illuminate, to chorus, with space and one another.
Samuel Beckett wrote “to restore silence is the role of objects.” What is the matter that can bring peace back? Silence is not the same as quiet, it is not passive. Is it losing oneself in a practice that is systematic and intuitive at the same time? Is it when we drop reception, when an afterimage comes into focus, or sees itself degenerating into a patina; the impression of a breath on emulsion, or thumb print into setting gel? The exhibition at Galerie Hubert Winter offers an opportunity to explore such roles, of objects, materials, silence/noise, of borderline walks, of neutrality, of each other.
—Allyson Spellacy, August 2023