Magazine article Artforum International

Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili: Micky Schubert

Magazine article Artforum International

Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili: Micky Schubert

Article excerpt

Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili

MICKY SCHUBERT

Part of the unconventional beauty of Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili's photographs lies in their blurring of the boundary between medium and motif; her approach to representation is intimately bound up with the inherent characteristics of the photographic medium. The artist generally works with analog technology and large-format cameras, but she also integrates digital techniques into her compositional processes. Having studied with Stephen Shore in New York, she is fully conversant with the methods of analog color photography: From operating the camera to manipulating the negative and negotiating the intricacies of lab technology, she controls all stages of the process, intervening with sometimes extensive, sometimes minimal and barely perceptible alterations, collaging, enhancing negatives with scratch marks, and experimenting with cameraless techniques. Frequently, she digitizes analog images for further editing. With a complex practice that blends intuition with invention, Alexi-Meskhishvili arrives at a peculiar texture that is neither pure representation nor abstract construction. That is the hallmark of her unique art: By dovetailing different techniques and probing the semantic interstices they open up, she unleashes their aesthetic potential and reveals photography's underpinnings; rather than undermining representation, she stages it as a distinctive register of visual narrative and poetic material.

Alexi-Meskhishvili's exhibition "I Move Forward, I Protozoan, Pure Protein"--the title is a quote from Clarice Lispector--presented new works that further refined the formal and stylistic qualities of her visual language as well as the technical complexity of her approach. Object photography and the still life abide as the cornerstones of her oeuvre; the critical engagement with medium and material remains crucial. The show also included examples of her more recent interest in portraiture, such as Invisible Majority (Eliza) (all works cited, 2016), which shows a recumbent young woman dressed in a blue velour sweatshirt. She rests on her right shoulder, her right arm angled, the bare forearm sticking up in an almost vertical line leading to clenched fingers. …

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