January 28 - March 9 2017
Hunter / Whitfield is pleased to present Polythene Queen, an exhibition of new work by Gery Georgieva, her first exhibition with the gallery.
In Polythene Queen, Georgieva explores the bizarre (un)realities of contemporary everyday life. Georgieva has transformed the gallery space into a mock-emporium, a gimcrack gift-shop. Set out on suitcases — makeshift plinths ready to be whisked away at a moment’s notice — ersatz ancient figurines balance precariously. Despite their rough surfaces and hasty modelling, the statues seem exotic and rarefied, while their placement reveals them to be trinkets, tourist fakes.
A screen shows a looped film of the artist’s face submerged blowing bubbles underwater. A calm and ludic moment of reflection and isolation becomes a violent disruption of the artist’s image. On the wall above the screen, a soft blanket bisected by an anaconda-like slash further heightens the sensation of violent envelopment and distortion.
At the rear of the gallery, a video shows the artist on rollerblades, wrapped in polythene, dancing in graceful diva self-mockery upon a lectern draped with a DIY international flag. Mournful music plays as we observe Georgieva pirouette in a flurry of plastic sheeting while the footage is disrupted by images of a London souvenir shop. Union Jack themed tchotchkes flash in and out of shot while the rustling polythene cloak brings to mind the abandoned construction sites and empty shop fronts of bankrupt EU nations.
Upstairs, a row of ‘Body Language’ paintings fill the space with a sweet smell redolent of the cocoa butter that comprises their surfaces bringing about a sense of the exotic-familiar, the intimate smell of skin invoked by urban proximity.
Like the hanging chiffon that creates diaphanous partitions in the gallery space, what separates us is all too thin, all too easily overlooked. The polythene of the title is at the heart of the irony of our divided world: a material used by the whole spectrum of society, prized by some and easily discarded by others. Georgieva points to that which is both unifying and divisive.
Gery Georgieva (b. 1986 Varna, Bulgaria) lives and works in London. Georgieva graduated from the RA schools in 2016 and is the current recipient of the SPACE Patrons and Friends Studio Bursary. Solo shows include Original Cheese, (AND/OR), 2016 and Solo Romantika, Res., 2015 all in London. Selected group exhibitions include: Balkan Idol (Frieze Film commissioned by Random Acts Channel 4), Frieze Art Fair, London, 2015; screening at MOCA Cleveland, Ohio, US; Outdoor II Continental Love, WARM, São Paulo, 2015; Techno Trance (Paradise Is Now), Luda Gallery, St Petersburg, 2015; Open Source Contemporary Arts Festival, London 2015; Apophenia, Islington Mill, Salford, 2014; AFTER/HOURS/DROP/BOX at Modern Art Oxford and Spike Island, Bristol; and performances at Bold Tendencies and ICA, London, 2012-13.