Fri 3 Nov 2023 to Sat 13 Jan 2024
Artist: Margarita Gluzberg
Talk: Margarita Gluzberg in conversation with Daniel Birnbaum. Wednesday 15 November, 6.30pm. Booking
Alma Pearl presents Otherwhere, Margarita Gluzberg’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The work of Margarita Gluzberg often explores the tensions and reciprocal interplay between the past and the present, memory recall alongside recurring fiction, and the politics of desire. Gluzberg’s practice ranges from drawing, photography, and performance to sound and film installation while drawing upon historical events and semi-biographical stories in its content, form, and presentation.
Featuring across the entirety of the gallery is a suite of works in pastels and coloured pencil on both canvas and paper that Gluzberg relates to as drawings. Here magical spheres float across the picture plane in archival colours and materials. These include highly pigmented American sets from the 1960s, subdued sticks from 1970s Eastern Europe, and the artist’s own childhood assortment. She conceives of this method of making as a kind of time-travel, which is significant: individual colour choices are made intuitively, but ultimately determined within the archival nature of what is available within her vintage sets saved and collected.
Also included is Detail, a work on paper from an earlier series. Taken from a Dior fashion shoot held in Moscow’s Red Square in 1959, the source image from which the fragment is drawn was originally published in Life magazine. This drawing depicts the turn of a Soviet woman’s ankle and shoe and the beautifully decorated hat of the Dior model. The work stands as an index for the forces of material, commodity and image culture, notions of migrations as well as Gluzberg’s own history of dislocation.
In these novel visual configurations, Gluzberg’s abstract and meditative body of works strives towards a conceptual zone which has been freed of any cultural associations. Their meaning is fully contained within the iridescent vintage materials deployed–bright and fluorescent blues, mesmerising hues of purples and greens, subdued browns–all markers of a remote place, an otherwhere that perhaps was and will never be again.
In earlier works from the same series these mystical and ethereal appearances floated lightly upon raw canvases. In the works Gluzberg presents here, the constellations are accompanied by a galaxy of foreign bodies and enchanted refractions. It is uncertain whether these manifestations are external influences or whether they originate from within the spheres. Freed from the confined and strict perimeters of the spheric geometrical form, these interlopers act as markers of the mutable chemistry of identity or the many articulations of desire.
Ultimately, the development of this series stems from the need to negotiate the world with its complexities and traumatic events in which personal grief overlaps with childhood memories of loss alongside historical events and conjunctures. The work becomes therefore an apparatus–or a conductor–linked to a desire which is perhaps difficult to articulate or to analytically pin down as it operates both as absence and lack, while also acting as a profoundly productive motor and motivating force.