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The Invisible Thread

“What does the artist do? He draws connections. He ties the invisible threads between things. 

He dives into history, be it the history of mankind, the geological history of the Earth 

or the beginning and end of the manifest cosmos.”

Anselm Kiefer [1]


Despite the fact that artworks are created in an artist’s studio, their new configuration is determined by the specific space that puts them on display. Lying on the border of the ability and impossibility of communicating with the environment, any attempt to establish a relationship between the piece and the space will have its own impact on the mutual transformation. 


The Dress. Burned on paper. 60X75. 2021


Cooperation between Gallery 4710 and Tamar Nadiradze began four months prior to the opening of her exhibition, with the intention not only of presenting 12 works, but also of supporting the artist’s experimental work with diverse materials including clay and embroidery. The exhibition “Wherever I go, Water Follows” simultaneously unites the well-known and the distant, the existing and nonexistent, the seen and unachievable, abandoned and imaginary notions and locations that are impregnated in our memories and introduce a post-apocalyptic universe not marked on any map, but familiar to us from our reality or our dreams. 


The Piece of Eternity. Watercolor. Ceramic. 28X32. 2020


The untitled. Watercolor. Ceramic. 27X31. 2020


In Tamar Nadiradze’s works either mountain or sky will swallow you. In these pieces everything can disappear into the belly of Cerberus, or end in an invasion of crows which tear apart the human body. They remove body parts from people who were once engaged in setting fire to bushes and trees, but who end up trapped in a condition where they cannot even cry and only rely on the tears of others. The works presented at the exhibition contain neither drawings of buildings nor depict any shelter. All the protagonists are situated in an open space. However, instead of becoming merged with the universe they only manifest lost connections and demonstrate Medea’s destroyed garden, forgotten feasts and mourning ceremonies. It would have been better to escape from this place that had already become a nature morte with its decomposing fruits and plants unable to nourish anyone with the nectar of life. 


The Still Life. Watercolor on paper. 55.5X76.  2021


Wherever I go, water follows. Watercolor. Ceramic 2021


Everything has become static in this weird universe, where quiet timelessness is only disturbed by the circulating water that tries to forge new connections. The water enjoys its own cycle of life, changing its physical state and purpose: it becomes solid and has to be cut with a knife, transforms into a tablecloth, pours down in the shape of tears… Sometimes it turns into a ball of thread, sometimes into a sea that is being crossed by a herd of deer. 


Two rich blue spots on a white wall can be read as a metaphor of transit space. The drawing of water, which in another case becomes embroidery made of blue threads, presents an infinite notion with no boundaries. Based on the archetypal meaning of the thread, the embroidered surface plays the role of major connecting element and symbolically relates to the ancient concepts of birth, fate and transformation. The thread has always been associated with “entering” and “leaving” the universe as well as transition, as it was considered to form the connecting essence between different worlds. Handling of thread has always constituted part of women’s activities, and was associated with female-related mythology and supernatural borderline creatures that possess the power to move from one universe to another. Accordingly, the links the threads created have been acknowledged to represent the opportunities that exist between the layers of cosmos (the Upper, Middle and Lower worlds) and psychology (the subconscious, conscious and superconscious states). 


The Deer. Watercolor. Ceramic. 2020


Tamar Nadiradze embroidered a symbolic liminal space that cannot be traversed alone. You need a deer with magic powers to cross from one side of the water to another. According to ancient beliefs, the deer represents a “sacred animal” possessing supernatural powers, connecting different universes, and portrays a zoomorphic image of an animal deity. Its limbs are plunged in water and its branched horns that embody the tree of life stretch towards the sky. The eternal and transparent nature of the symbol directs its essence from the past into the future, rejecting the idea of belonging only to one cultural layer. In fact, it constantly intersects all layers, in this way determining its viability and repetitive nature. It is important to note that the image of a deer that is given new life in Tamar Nadiradze’s work maintains the original unity and attractiveness of the archaic symbol. 


The Deer. Embroidery. 30X37. 2021


Interlacing of the forms and the blue background renders this enigmatic scene especially interesting. It is worth mentioning that the blue color resembles an untimely infinity that tries to suck in all elements. Symbolic shapes are attached to this embroidered surface. Fathomless energy brings them from the material into the associative dimension, and in parallel transforms itself into an endless metaphoric, transitional space. This space is impossible to be crossed alone; however, holding on to a deer by gripping it firmly around the neck may enable you to reach another world. The deer is a creature of supernatural abilities and has the power to cross this infinite space. Climb upon it and you will be brought to another place! Only the deer knows what is beyond the threshold. We may have been there at a certain point, but we are either deprived of the memory of doing so, or the location has disappeared. Therefore, close your eyes and trust the deer. It may bring you to such a place, or you may end up seeing the place in your dreams and telling the water about it. The water is both here and there because it follows you everywhere you go. 


The connection found by Tamar Nadiradze through water and the thread resembles the structure of the melancholy. According to Sigmund Freud, internalization of the “lost” object ensures its preservation as an element of the ego, which prevents its complete rejection and disappearance in the "external" world. Tamar Nadiradze preserves this connection, and establishes internal links with elusive and lost profound layers of “I” with the help of “the invisible thread, which along with water becomes the main symbol of the exhibition.”[2]


Many ways, many chances. Watercolor, burned on paper. 34X44. 2021



[1] Anselm Kiefer, quote from an interview made before the opening of the exhibition Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels, TelAviv, 2011. 

[2] Excerpt from the concept of Tamar Nadiradze’s exhibition, Gallery 4710. 


Ketevan (Keti) Shavgulidze,

Art Historian, PhD