press release

Johannes Vogt Gallery is pleased to announce the first solo show of Georgian artist Tamara K.E. with the gallery. For the exhibition, K.E. has produced a suite of paintings as part of her ongoing series “the day after the future.”

K.E.'s canvases depict wildly imaginative figures as uncanny: familiar and foreign at the same time. In one painting, K.E. depicts a deer consuming its blindfold of leaves. This vegetation is both food source, barrier to vision, and crown of laurels. In another, an ape-like face is contorted into an expression of horror. Mouth agape and wide eyed, the figure tortured expression is left without origin or explanation. In another set of works referred to as the "Lollies," there is a central circular element in each composition. In one abstracted canvas, the central form is an abstract swirl of pastel colors and geometric shapes on a stick. In a second, the circle becomes a faceless head, the stick a cigarette dangling out of its mouth. Despite this formal continuity, the fulfillment of the works is radically different; each work is its own dynamic anarchy.

Trained at the Academy of Art Düsseldorf, K.E.’s dynamic process involves both abstracted, stylized compositions such as those on display, as well as earlier conceptual paintings works whose appropriation of media imagery and wit recalls the Capitalist Realist practices of artists like Sigmar Polke and Martin Kippenberger. Boris Groys writes about K.E. that she “is a stroller with a sure-footed, purely private view, consuming the images of the media world in a melancholy and ironic way.” K.E.’s recent works depart from this better-known visual language. Instead, the floating compositions are ordered by their own rules, and only a small fragment of these systems is made visible. Departing from the clear referents of her earlier appropriations, K.E. freely crafts vibrant planes of colors and intricate details, constructing images of immense substance that resist easy understanding and immediate comprehension. Rather, they draw from just beyond our reach, from “the day after the future.” In this inaccessibility, the material sensuality of this transcendent world is made clear as autonomous, but perilous.

K.E.’s new works develop a unique style whose very structure is pointed. In their treatment of media as devoid of meaning, these works privilege a nomadic mentality. She writes, "Remember only what you easily can forget.” K.E. defines her work through a planned obsolescence, through the failure and corruption of our frames of understanding.

Tamara K. E. was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and lives and works in New York. She graduated from Academy of Art Düsseldorf (2003), represented Georgia in the 50th Venice Biennial, and participated in the 1st Prague Biennial. She has had museum shows that include Kunsthalle Hamburg (Hamburg), CoBrA Museum (Amsterdam), Daimler Contemporary (Berlin), House of Artists (Moscow), Van der Heydt Museum (Wuppertal), Museum für Neue Kunst (Freiburg), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Oostende), Sprengel Museum (Hannover), and the Museum am Ostwall (Dortmund).

Tamara K.E.
"The Day After The Future"