Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (A.02) - Daily Idylls

Found vintage photograph, 1969
Found vintage photograph, 1969

After a call for applications issued by the Direction des Arts plastiques contemporains, the project Daily Idylls, curated by Pauline Hatzigeorgiou and showcasing the work of the artists Aleksandra Chaushova and Zinaïda Tchelidze, was chosen by an expert jury.

Daily Idylls is a dual project by Brussels-based artists Aleksandra Chaushova (born in 1985 in Sofia, Bulgaria) and Zinaïda Tchelidze (born in 1982 in Tbilissi, Georgia). The project, which has been specially conceived for the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles booth at Art Artwerp, sets up an encounter between two practices that in their different visual media (drawing in the one instance and installation in the other) can in fact be seen to link up with one another in various ways. After they chose to live and work in Brussels at the end of an exchange programme about twelve years ago, Chaushova’s and Tchelidze’s artistic practices have been impacted both by the economic and political contexts of their countries of origin and by each of their experiences of leaving in order not to return.

The idea of transition, a plural notion, at once historical concept, collective phenomenon, and personal experience, thus turns out to be a recurrent source of investigation in both their practices. They immerse us in the dense layers and contradictions of a transition that seems to stumble over its promised horizon, haunted by its own reflection. Daily Idylls turns specifically around their shared interest in industrial objects and the way these are involved in symbolic economies, in particular the fantasmatic role they play in political imaginaries. A motor or a vector of postmodern culture, this apparently trivial object is manipulated, scrutanised, and analysed in order to dismantle its meaning, status, and value, as well as the way it circulates and the uses it is put to. Pursuing the hypothesis of a ‘social life of things’, the two artists bring us a series of unusual perspectives, marked as much by their experiences of post-communism and migration as by what finds expression at the edges of these.

Dialy Idylls plays with scale and with disturbed polarities, between public and domestic space, projections and interiorities, as well as utility and symbolism, neutrality and subjectivity, mutations and status quos. In their communicating works, the traditions of appropriation and expressive gesture compete with one another, like so many feigned withdrawals from the triviality of the everyday. Aleksandra Chaushova will show new drawings from her Burotica series, which she began some years ago and in which she makes portraits of office supplies, looking for the minimal expression of official authority. Zinaïda Tchelidze has made a new version of her recent work, House of Cards, in which the play of folded and unfolded window frames evokes mechanisms of defiance.

These inexorable works are shot through with effects of blind frontality, of enigmatic confidence. Beneath the mute face of these utilitarian objects—found objects for Zinaïda Tchelidze, reproduced objects for Aleksandra Chaushova—emerges the outline of an underlying historical trajectory for these two subjects. They ask us what remains of the idyll after the end of the era of utopias.