NINO BINIASHVILI: ZAUM ATTACK
Installation photography: Noam Preisman
At the beginning of the twentieth century a group of Russian artist and poets devised the language of Zaum. This was a futuristic language that was, among other things, an aesthetic expression of the revolutionary ideas that were taking shape during the final years of the Russia empire and the rise of the Soviet regime. At the core of the language was the deviation from the rules of the language: disruptions, word play, repetitive sounds, and new phrases that seemed devoid of logic or meaning. The various works of Zaum were given visual expression in artist books that combined poetry, prose, typography and illustrations, as well as in performances during which the poems were read aloud as listeners searched for the limits of the language and the line between familiar words and nonsensical sounds.
Building on Zaum poetry and the experimental principles of the Russian Futurist artists, Nino Biniashvili conceived the idea that is at the base of the exhibition Zaum Attack – an attack of delusional feeling arising from a lack of comprehensibility and loss of language due to immigration or travel to a foreign linguistic territory. When a zaum attack occurs, the body is seized by the feeling of being in limbo where intuition takes over, without the mediating effects of common sense or conventional language. Along with the frustration that comes from the lack of being able to understand or to belong, comes the opposite sense of not being responsible and of being free of language’s constraints.
In the exhibition, Biniashvili relocates these experiences to the exhibition space, and raises questions about the relationship between language, place and identity. Along with her artwork, which includes drawings on reflective materials, illustrations inspired by Zaum poetry, an artist book, a kaleidoscope and video artwork, are materials and poems from archival research she conducted. The exhibition simultaneously addresses the senses of sight and hearing and the perception of space, enabling the viewer to experience and explore the limits of language and reason, familiarity and foreignness, stability and chaos. The visitor moves between disassembled books, soft works displayed on hard, black tin exhibition mounts, fluorescent ink drawings and tables identical in shape but of different size. In the intimate space created, language becomes fluid and the world’s familiar cohesion threatens to come apart. This layered view, comprised of multiple fragments and perspectives, remains enigmatic and open to the viewer’s interpretation, like a kind of contemporary Zaum poem.
Dates: Novermber 1, 2019 - January 24, 2020
Venue: Art Cube Artists' Studios
Photography: Noam Preisman