Artbeat is pleased to present a new site-specific installation by Anna K.E. Located across two rooms, operating in dialogue with one another, the exhibition includes a composition of sculptures, video and sound works, alongside a series of pastel drawings. Throughout, K.E. employs her characteristic methods of repetition and juxtaposition to playfully challenge ideas around space, identity and tradition. On entering the first room, we are immediately confronted by the corner of a large triangle at our feet, one of two that dominate the space. The first is a simply constructed frame that lies across the floor, filled with a cacophony of colorful seeds reminiscent of an aromatic bazaar. The seeds have been arranged to form precise, symmetrical forms within the triangle, rendered in clean, graphic lines. The uncanny combined effect is that of a pair of butterfly wings passed through an algorithm; iterated so many times that they have ceased to resemble organic forms at all. K.E. often uses repetition as a way of challenging meaning, repeating words and images over and over, until their original meanings begin to melt away and re-congeal as strange new hybrid forms. The vibrancy of the seeds and the defiant scale of the triangle act as provocations to the room’s sterility and limited geometry, literally refusing to be contained. The second triangle hovers like an ominous moth at the far corner of the room, partially obstructing the sole window. Its surface is made up of scraps of collaged speaker fabric, stitched together to convey the soft, gradual formation of organic matter over time. From within this structure, a sound work plays on a loop, projected through a cluster of smaller speakers that combine to create one combined sound—a stream of consciousness comprising snippets of recorded speech over pounding rhythmic beats and discordant melodies. K.E. extracts phrases from everyday life— “If you smell like a garlic”; “I would love you even more”—and subjects them to relentless iterative processing until they are reduced first to nonsense, then regenerate as entirely new forms. K.E.’s voice spirals into the ecstatic delirium of a mystic speaking “in tongues” and, slowly, the repetition begins to work on us, pushing our minds into an altered state wherein generic interpretations are swept aside to make room for thrilling new possibilities. In the second room, the walls are lined with a series of seven framed pastel-drawn portraits, presented in large, roughly-painted frames. As with the snippets of recorded sound, the portraits are interpretations of real people whom K.E. encounters on the road, functioning as abstract souvenirs. The resulting portraits are a surreal mixture of childlike wonder and the grotesque, with exaggerated features and vivid colouring to convey each subject’s distinct individuality. The disproportionate scale of the frames in relation to the images subverts the normal function of framing, namely as a hermetic seal between observer and work. By implicating the frames within the work itself, the portraits are permitted to retain their vitality, even within the gallery space. In the liminal space between the gallery's two main rooms, a mounted video piece plays on a loop, like a connecting thought. The single clip, captured ad hoc on an iPhone, shows a ladybug wandering alone across the quivering flank of a larger animal. As the camera lingers, we sense the artist’s indecision— whether to stop filming or hold—and are held in the same limbo, wondering if our patience will be rewarded by some kind of action. When it eventually comes, we are left to contemplate the sticky inevitability of the order of things.
Anna K.E. was born in 1986 in Tbilisi, Georgia. K.E. attended the famous Vakhtang Chabukiani classical ballet school from 1995-2000, and in 2000 K.E. moved to Germany. In 2002 at 15 years old K.E. became one of the youngest students ever to attend the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart. In 2004, she moved on to one of the most respected art schools in Germany – the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf – where she received her diploma degree as well as Meisterschülertitel with professors Georg Herold and Christopher Williams in 2010.
During and after her studies Anna K.E. received numerous awards and prizes including the Rotary Club Scholarship 2007; the Audi Art Award 2008 for progressive performance; the ISCP artist residency 2009, NYC; and the Herbert Zapp prize for young art 2012. In 2010 after finishing her studies in Germany K.E. moved to New York to attend the ISCP International Studio & Curatorial Program, with the financial support by the German government (DAAD Scholarship; NRW Travelscholarship; Kunststiftung NRW). Since completing the program, K.E. lives and works in both NYC and Berlin.
Anna K.E. is represented by the New York based Simone Subal Gallery, and has had solo shows there in 2013, 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2022 and by the Berlin based Galerie Barbara Thumm with solo shows in 2013, 2015 and 2020. The galleries regularly exhibit her work at local and international art fairs including Frieze New York, Art Basel Miami, Armory New York, ARCO Madrid, LISTE Basel, and ZONAMACO Mexico, among others.
Anna K.E. had her first institutional solo show at the Queens Museum in 2017, and has also shown at institutions such as The Delaware Contemporary, Wilmington, De (2020); Kunstpalais Erlangen, Germany (2019); Queens Museum, New York, USA (2017-2018); Primary, Nottingham, UK (2017); The Kitchen, NYC (2015); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA (2015); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, USA (2015); The Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL, USA (2012); and The III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Moscow, Russia (2012); Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany (2011); Museum K21, Düsseldorf (2010); Cobra Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2009); and Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, Germany (2009).
In 2019 Anna K.E. represented Georgia at 58th Venice Biennale. 'REARMIRRORVIEW, Simulation is Simulation, is Simulation, is Simulation...' was curated by Margot Norton.
In 2012 Hatje Cantz published Anna K.E.’s first monograph entitled “A well-to-do man is cruising in his fancy car when a small hen runs out on the road in front…”.
Opening: 21 September, 18:00-20:00.
21 September - 30 October, 2022
Address: 14 P. Ingorokva street, Tbilisi.
Gallery is open from Tuesday till Sunday, 11:00-19:00.