Half a decade ago, Muriel Rukeyser wondered, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?” She concluded, “The world would split open.”
Standing barefoot on baby-pink carpeting, Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili contains such earth-shattering powers. The Tbilisi-born New Yorker and Berlin-based artist – and former Jean Paul Gaultier muse! – is complexity incarnate. Her most recent obsession with novelist Clarice Lispector is rooted precisely in the Brazilian writer’s world-encompassing multiplicity: “She wrote through immigration, kids, family, death, divorce – nothing could stop her. And her writing is a first record of its kind, where a woman wrote from early youth through old age and was never interrupted.”
Lispector’s final, unfinished work A Breath of Life is a dialogue between a nameless author and Angela, the character they invented. Creator and creation bleed into one another in very real and definitely inescapable codependency.
Alexi-Meskhishvili’s literary obsession is eerily attuned to her partner Andro Wekua’s lifeless yet undead mannequin sculpture. A Breath of Life’s descriptions of splits, pain, scarring, and ever-morphing modes of perception perfectly match the internal monologue one could imagine playing out in the sculpture’s mind.
Wekua’s powered-down cyborg graced the pages of 032c last year and is currently on display as part of his solo exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein. Pictured here during its opening, Alexi-Meskhishvili spent a good deal of time in Cologne for her own solo presentation at the Kunstverein last year. For those visiting the city, Alexi-Meskhishvili raves about Peter Zumthor’s reading room at the Kolumba museum, which “with its gray silk ombré curtains, feels like the womb.” Perhaps as a remedy to her insomnia – fostered by travel, a never clearing work schedule, and motherhood – she also strongly endorses Koelsch, “which is not a place, but it is the best drink ever invented.”