Ani Gurashvili
Painting as a Carrier Bag

This research explores the global return of a specific strand of figurative painting in recent years, a figuration that is based on complex devices of pictorial self-referentiality and appropriation and is historically associated with femininity. (e.g. surrealist women, whose works recently resurfaced to the light of day.) Aiming to detect the cause of this recent historical and practical re-evaluation, I intend to adopt ecofeminist Donna Haraway’s method, which is about seeking knowledge through the entanglement of different threads. The threads form the strings and connect stories that did not seem to be linked before. In this case, the knowledg accumulates through following multiple threads to track the roots of the visual language that is present today.

Inseparable from this specific painterly figuration seems to be a general referencing of the occult. An interest in the occult is often predicated on drastic changes in a social structure and is indicative of a need for self-empowerment. Here, the political history of Witchcraft and its role in feminist theory is of specific interest to me. The magic practice served as a legitimate argument for witch-hunts followed by prosecution and advocated suppressed female knowledge production during primitive accumulation of capital. This violent phenomenon still emits radiation today and is one of the key components to understand the fate of female painters‘ unattainable status of an artist and the roots of the occult.

I intend to distill the present phenomena through the filter of ’now‘ in the settings of the late capitalistic world, following the theory of contemporary aesthetics and its dominant criteria.

The main question is how to navigate post metapictorial painting to enable reading new meanings of resurfaced signifiers. What data can painting carry and is it possible to tangle and untangle threads in this medium to retell stories from new angles?

Supervisor: Henning Bohl

Ani Gurashvili, Optical illusion, oil on canvas 95×95, 2020. Credit: kunst-dokumentation.com.