Tatjana Pieters presents an exhibition of works by Indrikis Gelzis
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Tatjana Pieters presents an exhibition of works by Indrikis Gelzis
Indrikis Gelzis, Weakdays, 2020, steel, textile, mdf, veneer, metal primer and varnish, 200 x 180 x 14 cm, unique.

by Zane Onckule

GHENT.- This is an invitation to imagine the portal, an architecturally conceived corpus that results into a form flattened to it's far end. Here, all the details – isolated, incubated, disrupted - mediates the space apart from what is contained within its own materiality. By directing attention and desire, literally bending it into a palpable stream of energy, Indriķis Ģelzis freeze a particular movement in a given moment. Still life of a still life is a porous entity made of fluid ideas and streams of narratives that suggest to be discovered and re-discovered, entered and re-entered.

Born into the family of artists and architects, shortly before the collapse of the Iron Curtain, Ģelzis' new work seem to increasingly borrow and develop under the aegis of that very specific cultural time-space. Throughout his plane-sculptures Ģelzis gravitates towards a largely non-linguistic modes of creating, and that appears in forms of crumbled and syntactically broken-up (visual) language and memory affiliated with that. Generations long the Soviet Occupation became a fertile ground in developing a cryptic and coded scheme of messages that contained a strong distrust of the ruling powers. Symbolic stories and images were created, establishing a hidden layer of communication with perceptive audiences. Mimicry, critical appropriation, deconstruction, and inversion reigned as a cultural response to these Soviet conditions. Everyone spoke and conversed in coded and scripted lingua sovieticana, also known as Aesop's-speech (titled after the Greek slave was granted freedom because of his fables). There was a two-fold purpose for using the language; according to the professor of cultural studies Irina Sandomirskaja: (..) an act of using Aesopian language is to distract the censor while alerting the sympathetic reader to the presence of the ‘false bottom’ in an apparently innocent statement. Both tasks make appeal to the sensibility of the reader. In order to understand, the reader/hearer must look away from, or through, what she reads or hears. She must possess the active sensibility that would enable her to hear what has not been uttered or to read what has not been written. Again, Aesopian language is more than conspiracy: it is also an aesthetic formed in the game of speaking politically, in which exchange of meaning occurs thanks to a shared sensibility of dissent.

It is therefore, one possible approach to perceive Ģelzis' works as a twice-removed and time non-specific political allegory about hidden structures of power, that akin to the Breachtian epic theatre narrative, transmit the notion of an absurd. Such power that rules the totalitarian/capitalist universe and employs constant violence/surveillance/monitoring as means of gaining the consensus of all the participants in regard to the rules of a (cruel) game. Here, the irrationality of the human condition and the illusion of living from one side meets a form of rebellion and a critical response to the patterns of oppression highlighted with the possibility of hidden social and anti-colonial protest from the other.

Fleshed out of a virtual image using 3D software, these humanlike rigid architectural sculptures contain effortful physical labor of welding, bending, grinding, burning, oiling, and sewing. Resisting explicit interpretation and lacking an organizing premise beyond themselves, Ģelzis' painterly frames are both software “crafted” , as well as left to a “pure chance”. One thing is certain - subtly self-replicating, they are conceived thinking about seriality and graduate progression until constructions reach the stillness.

It is as if the evil Perpendicular, a character from the Latvian animation movie “Dillī Dalī in the world of the Perpendicular” (1976) carries the role of a dramatic character – the protagonist in this case. Echoing Perpendicular's - the perpetual enemy's - intention to undo/ruin everything that is alive (contrary to the giddy Dillī who possess power to bring life into the things, be it his toys or other things) by putting into a frame (literally, behind the bars) – birds, plants, children – Ģelzis’ works out of line (think of it as the tiny body of the Perpendicular) and forces/collapses everything back into a line. The only exception here, is that who gets trapped into the frame, in the prison of its own will, is the evil geometrical figure - this mutable - “rambling” - schizoid – himself.

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