Tamuna Sirbiladze’s paintings, fast, expressionistic canvases depicting abstract shapes and naked female figures in the midst of bodily functions, convey an intimate, unavoidable physicality.
Born in Georgia and based in Vienna, Sirbiladze could be said to be channelling some of the Viennese Actionists’ subversive spirit. She paints unromanticised images of faceless women naked, bleeding, defecating and vomiting, a kind of scrapbook of acts that are not particularly taboo now but aren’t the most obvious subjects for artists to explore in their works. There’s a raw frankness to her characters that goes beyond their crude, puerile figuration; they at once conflate the imagery of pornography and primeval ritual within scenes that hint at the diaristic and at a wide range of emotional states.
There is always something ordinary, something humorous, something melancholy and something sinister in her paintings. Map 4 – Got Too Much LA Sun shows the body of a naked woman on a beach, completely sunburnt and crimson (even her head and pubic hair), bending over an abstract shape with arched arms and legs, but still wistfully looking over to the blue waves and the sky on the horizon.
Map 3 – Being Left There is a more modest depiction of a figure kissing the air to the right, but more sinisterly holding a cartoonish, hot pink bone behind her back, like a club. Map 2 and Map 3 include unflinching paintings of a woman’s buttocks during the act of defecation and penetration, across which text has been painted in bright neon colours, like graffiti.
The exact meaning of these arresting works is left open, blurred and made even more ambiguous by their often poetic titles. Sirbiladze is also the widow of artist Franz West, and the two often collaborated on projects.
Text by Lupe Nùñez-Fernández