The exhibitions of Tolia Astakhishvili and Angélique Aubrit & Ludovic Beillard focus on the mediums of sculpture and installation, with Astakhishvili additionally including drawing and painting, while the artist duo's practice extends to video and performance. Their works testify to a strong interest in architecture as a place of living, connected with memories and shaped by stories. Places of residence and dwellings can be constitutive for the personality and psychology of each individual. This is also how the philosopher Gaston Bachelard understands the house in The Poetics of Space, 1957. In this publication he provides a phenomenological analysis of the power of fantasy and dreaming in relation to space and the way we inhabit the world. The choice of the artists was guided by this idea and by what the spaces of the Kunstverein Bielefeld can represent and contain. In the 17th century, the building not only served as a residence, but it also offered the right of asylum to robbers and outcasts. Within the walls of today's Kunstverein, these were protected from legal persecution. With their artistic response to the historical spaces, the artists create a dialogue rich in contrast on the topic of living space and, more generally, of personal location in the context of a domestic abode.
In her artistic language, Tolia Astakhishvili refers to pasts and memories transported through space; be they intimate or political. The artist transforms the existing architecture with the help of sheetrock and thereby creates new spaces. Left raw in the process of construction, these walls redefine the floor plan of the exhibition space. Spaces are bisected, hidden windows revealed and new vantage points created. The way in which Astakhishvili's pale walls alter the original exhibition space and its given logic triggers a specific orientation; as if the artist wanted to break through the order and authority of the institution. At the same time, she uses the new construction elements to design her own framework for her works, in which paintings, found objects, drawings, photographs and/or texts are integrated. Her drawings and paintings often depict ghosts or surreal beings. In this environment, they reveal traces of human presence that are both real and fictional, gentle, uncanny or even violent. A living place emerges that generates various psychological states and ultimately makes the poetics of space visible. Astakhishvili's installations resemble a non-linear narrative that invites the viewer to explore different levels of consciousness of a physical space.
Angélique Aubrit and Ludovic Beillard build environments inhabited by figures in which burlesque narratives and absurd theatre unite. Their wearable costumes as well as their sculptures representing characters are a combination of self-sewn clothes and wooden helmets that imitate human faces and other creatures. These figures often represent minorities marginalised by society. Sometimes they appear as protagonists in Aubrit and Beillard's video installations and sometimes they come to life in the exhibition context. In their extensive staging composed of an assortment of recycled furnishings and/or paper walls, a psychologically charged state prevails. In a satirical way, they reflect our present day with its brutal and nebulous aspects. For Aubrit and Beillard, however, it is less about presenting a pessimistic view of the world and more about establishing a state of civilisation and highlighting its relations of domination in order to (re)write new forms of collective venting. For their exhibition in Bielefeld, the artist duo opens a new chapter in their work with three beings from “elsewhere” who have made themselves comfortable at home on the upper floor of the Kunstverein.
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Tolia Astakhishvili (1974 in Tbilisi, lives and works in Berlin and Tbilisi) has presented her works in numerous institutional exhibitions and galleries, including: Felix Gaudlitz, Vienna, LC Queisser, Tbilisi (2022), Art Hub Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Haus Mödrath, Kerpen, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Capitain Petzel Galerie, Berlin (all 2021), Man National Museum, Sofia, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (both 2019) and at Delmes & Zander, Cologne, Cabinet, London (both 2018).
Angélique Aubrit (1988 in Angoulême, lives and works in Brussels) and Ludovic Beillard (1982 in Bordeaux, lives and works in Bordeaux) have been exhibiting together as an artist duo since 2017. They presented their works in solo exhibitions at Galerie Valeria Cetraro, Paris (2022), La Tôlerie, Clermont Ferrand, Lindre-Basse Residency-Centre d'art contemporain La Syngogue, Delme, Etablissement d'en face, Brussels (all three 2021) and Komplot (Chateau Nou)r, Brussels (2019). The duo has been participated in group exhibitions at Le 19 Crac, Montbéliard (both 2022), and CAPC, Bordeaux (2021), among others.