Counterfeit goods

WHERE

YARAT- Center of Contemporary art

Baku, Azerbaijan

WHEN

2016

‘Counterfeit goods’ is a term used to refer to fake items that are made to look like genuine consumer goods. Gvantsa Jishkariani adopts the terminology for her show that muses on the confluence of artificially enforced cultural signifiers and popular aesthetic preferences in Azerbaijan. The titles of the works in the show are taken from the Simpsons animated sitcom that deals with American everyday life and its attitude towards fake value system with subtle irony. The artist sees this fixation with mass culture and sarcastic take on it as very close to her own practice and hence, presents a body of work with similar ironic undertones.

You’ll release the dogs, or the bees, or the dogs with bees in their mouths, and when they bark, they shoot bees at you? is an installation comprised of glass test tubes stuck into self-hardening clay hemispheres that are placed on a lightbox. The tubes are filled with colorful substances and the clay shapes are adorned with equally vibrant decorative objects. The artist superimposes fake and natural materials and creates unlikely combinations and systems of dependencies from condiments, leave teas, pigments along with plastic balls, fake flowers to confuse what is real and what is made to mimic the reality. In that way she echoes the context that is fascinated with simulation, fake flowers, stuffed animals and leopard print patterns.

Maybe there is no moral. Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happened is made of polyethylene film laid on the floor with an enamel camel figurine that is incidentally a jewelry box. The polyethylene film creates a landscape that serves as a metaphor for the futuristic vision of a city. It is allusively see-through, sterile, artificial and suffocating material, which seems to predict the future of a city with its parks set in stone. Nonetheless, as the title suggests, it might be just a polyethylene film with a camel.

Fastrelax is a video installation in a niche, positioned so that in order to view the video one has to be very close to the screen. The video shows standard footage of nature that is supposedly used for relaxation. However, these videos are fast-forwarded and being placed too close to the screen, one can hardly recognize what the running footage depicts; let alone relax in this forced and artificial scenario. The installation offers a social commentary that suggests that it might be impossible to analyze situations and call things their names when put too close, when being part of them.