Sophio Medoidze

Curated by Adam Pugh

Adam Pugh

Sophio Medoidze

[Adam Pugh]

Adam Pugh is a curator, writer and designer based in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he also works as Regional Director, North East Contemporary Visual Arts Network. +

[Sophio Medoidze]

Born in the USSR, brought up in the Republic of Georgia and now living in London, Sophio Medoidze is an artist and filmmaker who works with film, writing, photography and sculpture. +

Questions and Answers

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 3’ 24’’ | 2013

Unha pseudo película casera, Q&A (PyR) conxura unha localización específica na costa do Mar Negro como un lugar que alberga tanto trauma como placer. A través da locución da artista que describe unha experiencia onírica e ao enfrontar imaxes entre sí, créanse repeticións e descuidos lingüísticos, un equivalente cinematográfico da técnica de fluxo de conciencia.

Tuscany Files

— Spanish premiere —

SD video | Sound | Color | 5’17’’ | 2008

The narration in Tuscany Files stems out of a writer’s experience of a linguistic amnesia, of stuttering not in one’s language but in grammar. As an unnamed protagonist describes her life in a beautiful town, the disjunction between words and images becomes more apparent as the story progresses.

Generic travel photographs, found among discarded files from an estate agency next to the artist’s studio, become a base onto which the exiled person’s desires are projected—except there is some trouble with language.

Jackals and Drones: Chronicles of a Summer

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 16’ | 20016-18

The narrative follows a road movie schema, but only superficially: a Belgian actress arrives in Tbilisi airport to travel to the medieval cave city of Vardzia. Her journey with two non-professional actors drives the narrative forward, while Medoidze’s camera records their encounters with jackals, drones and the Orthodox monks, amongst others. Vardzia’s beautiful, desert-like landscape only appears through a car window, reflecting a fragmentation of life of the film’s protagonists.

Parallel to the journey, a mythopoetic personage resembling Medea roams the caves, scorning our obsession with progress and technology. The film starts and ends with the rain that comes as if in answer to her prayers, a confirmation of nature’s sacred status.

Xitana

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 6’ | 2019

In the isolated mountainous region of Tusheti in North East Georgia, life has remained largely unchanged since medieval times until last summer, when the Georgian government introduced free wifi access. As a result the desires of young Tushetians are shifting dramatically: they are more likely to remain in the village with internet access, but are dreaming about a better life beyond the mountains which remains largely inaccessible due to economic and visa restrictions.
Nowhere else is this conflict of desires more pronounced than during ‘Atingenoba’, the region’s traditional summer festivities that also falls within its busiest tourist season.

Andropov’s Ears

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 7’ | 2014

A modernist monument in Tbilisi nicknamed Andropov’s Ears (after the then-head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov) has recently been demolished by the neoliberal Georgian government to be replaced by a symbol of capitalist prosperity: a shopping mall. Medoidze, who is based in London, opts out of this double negativity by filming the remnants of Brutalist architecture in London and referring to the missing monument through sculpture and her gestures that are both intimate and humorous.
A voiceover reads from Medoidze’s fictional story about a couple who, in an unprecedented event in Soviet Georgia, occupy the Ears monument. Medoidze avoids direct historicisation by focusing on the interchangeability of real and imaginary references.
la intercambiabilidad de las referencias reales con las imaginarias.

Madoli

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 14’ | 20020

Filmed during the annual celebration of the dead in the high mountain villages of Tusheti, Madoli complicates conventional discourse around gender and ethnicity, implicating the protagonists, viewer and artist alike.

The traditional celebration of Madoli – with both pagan and early Christian roots, and rife with ritual and symbolism – is held annually in the mountains of Tusheti. As a woman, Medoidze is not allowed to film the rituals up close, and has to defer to a man to film its central sacrifice. As an act of defiance, the artist will rehearse the traditional mourning song Dala, a sacred form forbidden to women.

Questions and Answers

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 3’ 24’’ | 2013

Unha pseudo película casera, Q&A (PyR) conxura unha localización específica na costa do Mar Negro como un lugar que alberga tanto trauma como placer. A través da locución da artista que describe unha experiencia onírica e ao enfrontar imaxes entre sí, créanse repeticións e descuidos lingüísticos, un equivalente cinematográfico da técnica de fluxo de conciencia.

Xitana

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 6’ | 2019

In the isolated mountainous region of Tusheti in North East Georgia, life has remained largely unchanged since medieval times until last summer, when the Georgian government introduced free wifi access. As a result the desires of young Tushetians are shifting dramatically: they are more likely to remain in the village with internet access, but are dreaming about a better life beyond the mountains which remains largely inaccessible due to economic and visa restrictions.
Nowhere else is this conflict of desires more pronounced than during ‘Atingenoba’, the region’s traditional summer festivities that also falls within its busiest tourist season.

Tuscany Files

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 5’17’’ | 2008

The narration in Tuscany Files stems out of a writer’s experience of a linguistic amnesia, of stuttering not in one’s language but in grammar. As an unnamed protagonist describes her life in a beautiful town, the disjunction between words and images becomes more apparent as the story progresses.

Generic travel photographs, found among discarded files from an estate agency next to the artist’s studio, become a base onto which the exiled person’s desires are projected—except there is some trouble with language.

Andropov’s Ears

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 7’ | 2014

A modernist monument in Tbilisi nicknamed Andropov’s Ears (after the then-head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov) has recently been demolished by the neoliberal Georgian government to be replaced by a symbol of capitalist prosperity: a shopping mall. Medoidze, who is based in London, opts out of this double negativity by filming the remnants of Brutalist architecture in London and referring to the missing monument through sculpture and her gestures that are both intimate and humorous.
A voiceover reads from Medoidze’s fictional story about a couple who, in an unprecedented event in Soviet Georgia, occupy the Ears monument. Medoidze avoids direct historicisation by focusing on the interchangeability of real and imaginary references.

Jackals and Drones: Chronicles of a Summer

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 16’ | 20016-18

The narrative follows a road movie schema, but only superficially: a Belgian actress arrives in Tbilisi airport to travel to the medieval cave city of Vardzia. Her journey with two non-professional actors drives the narrative forward, while Medoidze’s camera records their encounters with jackals, drones and the Orthodox monks, amongst others. Vardzia’s beautiful, desert-like landscape only appears through a car window, reflecting a fragmentation of life of the film’s protagonists.

Parallel to the journey, a mythopoetic personage resembling Medea roams the caves, scorning our obsession with progress and technology. The film starts and ends with the rain that comes as if in answer to her prayers, a confirmation of nature’s sacred status.

Madoli

— Spanish premiere —

HD video | Sound | Color | 14’ | 20020

Filmed during the annual celebration of the dead in the high mountain villages of Tusheti, Madoli complicates conventional discourse around gender and ethnicity, implicating the protagonists, viewer and artist alike.

The traditional celebration of Madoli – with both pagan and early Christian roots, and rife with ritual and symbolism – is held annually in the mountains of Tusheti. As a woman, Medoidze is not allowed to film the rituals up close, and has to defer to a man to film its central sacrifice. As an act of defiance, the artist will rehearse the traditional mourning song Dala, a sacred form forbidden to women.

Sophio Medoidze

The focus on Sophio Medoidze, curated by the British curator and writer Adam Pugh, transports us on a surprising, precarious and ironic journey, full of humor, criticism and history, through the artist’s imagination, which draws on a complex Georgia, full of contradictions.

Wednesday 27 oct | 16:30 – 18:00h

Fundación Luís Seoane

Supported by: