David Kakabadze at the Georgian National Museum

David Kakabadze belongs to the wave of Georgian artists who got to experience Paris in the beginning of 20th century. The 7 years the artist has spent there became crucial in the development of his style. Being part of Parisian life Kakabadze has soaked in the European spirit and is considered to be the 'most European' painter in Georgian Art History. Keeping up with the relevant European tendencies his oeuvre offers some very interesting cubist and abstract paintings. He is supposed to have pioneered the biomorphic abstraction.
Landscape plays crucial role in Kakabadze's oeuvre and especially the views of his home of Imereti. These canvases remind of the childhood sensations, saturated with warmth in the mind of an adult. Imereti-Mother is the most famous canvas from this series summarising Kakabadze's attitude, filled with dearest sentiments to the province of Georgia, Imereti.
Returned to the Soviet reality of Georgia, Kakabadze was forced to paint the hymns to Soviet Party, but the language of Socialist Realism was so alien to the fluid abstractions that constantly disapproved he was expelled from the academy as an unworthy lecturer.
The exposition at the Georgian National Museum has been curated by the artist's grandchild, Mariam Kakabadze, also in charge of the Kakabadze foundation. The aim of the exhibition as the curator explained was to portray the multi-faceted persona of David Kakabadze- the painter, researcher, inventor, set designer and photographer. The display is arranged thematically which can be seen as a new word in Georgian curating.
For Georgians David Kakabadze has become an emblem of the European past trampled by the Soviet army. Despite being such a pivotal figure for local modern art scene, this is the first retrospective of his. 


Some of the Imereti landscape paintings:


From Socialist Realism:

Biomorphic abstractions:

Cubbist influences:

Photos of David Kakabadze:

Photo by David Kakabadze


Levan Mindiashvili

When living in Tbilisi got too comfortable for Levan Mindiashvili, he moved to Buenos Aires where without knowing the language or anyone he was set to run from the informational vacuum of Tbilisi. Transformed into an international artist, his works are currently being exhibited in the Kunstraub99 gallery, Cologne, while visiting UK for the Brighton Fashion Show.His art revolves around the topics of intimacy and identity. The constant research of the individual influence over the surroundings has led Mindiashvili to observe architecture and to look for the traces there.

‘The theme is always the same- the question of identity. My focus is on the intimacies of life. I think a lot about the border between private and public. I explore these subjects in my Architecture and Bed series.The architecture of Buenos Aires has inspired me to investigate the subject. The sidewalls of the houses are often exploited by the dwellers adding a very personal touch to the facades. If you look into them you will be able to know what kind of person lives there. In that way the private sips out to public and the public becomes private.’ The ever-present search and investigation of the borderlines between the public and private seems to echo the locality of Tbilisi as a paradigm of small community- where the line between personal and public is indeed quite blurry.

 Always working in series, he investigates the sediments of experiences buried in his unconsciousness:' When something inspires me I never see it singularly, our own perception is like that too- we apprehend the world in continuum. An idea is always more interesting and rich when you work on it for some time and when you develop it in series. I am never satisfied with my work. As soon as I feel comfortable with it I feel the need to escape the comfort zone. When the material does not surprise me anymore I see it as a sign to move on. Challenge is vital to my creativity. Me moving to Buenos Aires was also an escape from comfort zone and the financial stability, which I realised was too early for my age.'The Urban Intimacies series summarises and merges the artist’s personal experience of New York, Tbilisi and Buenos Aires. Overlaid buildings silhouettes add the intimate voice to the stern facades.  The Whisper series of unmade beds radiate the body heat trapped through the sheets. The physicality of paintings- the rice paper stuck to canvas resembles the bed sheets and their creases intensifying the associations Mindiashvili was aiming to raise. The poetic depictions are to investigate human subjectivity.

'I have realised that our perception itself becomes very structural and we always look for similarities. When I moved to New York I realised all that attracted and inspired me also reminded me of Buenos Aires. I am also fascinated how subjective our perception is of the environment we inhabit.’

Although he does not apprehend himself as belonging to any geographical locations, he still maintains a sentimental bond with his hometown. After the 5 years of absence, this year he had returned to Tbilisi with an exhibition Wrapped in the Sheets. Challenge being the driving force for Mindiashvili’s creativity, he decided to arrive with his intellectual baggage only. Remembering his student days, his immense interest and the lack of information, this show was an attempt to share his knowledge to Georgian audience. The exhibition was produced as collaboration with another Georgian artist, Uta Bekaia; since 2011, Mindiashvili and Bekaia are a team.

 Visit Levan Mindiashvili's personal blog:http://levan-m.com/ PERSONAL BLOG


Thea Djordjadze

Thea Djordjadze is one of the few names that put Georgia on the map of international art. Student and a great admirer of Rosemarie Trockel, Djordjadze has been exhibited on the most important art exhibitions of the world with the Documenta XIII being one of them. Renown for her acute sense of space she seems to be painting in three dimensions. Her works are often site specific- they are created and exhibited in the same space:

'When I am invited to a show the process is very routine like; I arrive in advance, observe the space, then think about it-not what I will be doing there, but the space in itself. The space is imprinted in me, then I return to the studio to work I try to not think about my working process. After a while I return to the space with unfinished artwork and then the rearranging begins.When I enter the space I try to unite it. I enter the space and think about it with the relation to time, everything that is in the space is a 3D work for me that I try to accomodate. What I do is a reorganisation of time in space. I am not a conceptualist, I do not have a conceptual logic that I follow. Emotion and intuition play crucial role in my creative process.'
(from the lecture at the Tbilisi State Academy 2012)

For the 55th Venice Biennial, Djordjadze worked on the Georgian Pavilion. 
'Soviet elements always resurface in my oeuvre. Now I realise these were all that I loved and was important to me. Initially I was planning to work on the Georgian alphabet (for the pavilion), but due to  the strict regulations I had a constrain of a 1.2m handrail, so I decided to play with the motives of baskets frequently seen on Georgian markets.' 
(from the interview to Artarea)

Thea Djordjadze, Venice Biennial 2013

The artist discussing her sculpture:


Iliko Zautashvili

Iliko Zautashvili being one of the prominent representatives of the Georgian Avant-garde art scene of the 80s, presented his conceptual piece Time disappears in Time as part of the Yarat pavilion on the 55th Venice Biennial. 

Our post about Iliko Zautashvili:

from the Yarat catalogue for the Love Me, Love Me Not exposition, Venice 2013


A press release for the exhibition: http://loveme-lovemenot.com/assets/LoveMe-LoveMeNot.pdf

Euro Remonts by Nikoloz Lutidze

Inside the impressive facade of the Kamikaze Loggia Nikoloz Lutidze has been renovating the space in a distinct style of 'Euro-remont'-quite familiar, trendy and unique to Georgian environment. For quite a while the renovations of Tbilisi houses in the 'Euro-remont' style has been a signifier of the taste and wealth of the owner. 

Nikoloz Lutidze in an interview to the Artarea:
'When I started thinking about the concept I did a proper research. I went to the the Eliava St. (the street where the materials as well as the builders and workmen are to be found for all sorts of renovations) and recorded interviews from the workmen as to what does the term 'Euro-remont' stand for. They have a clearly formulated definition for it and the instructions how to achieve the precise results.' The artist sees this trend as a signifier of the fundamental changes in the society itself. 'Desire to adapt European standards and to allow this culture in, has to be provoked by very serious reasons. In my opinion there was no attempt to analyse our inner layers, instead people and country decided to forget all of it and upholster a new layer'. 

From the pavilion catalogue, Venice 2013


the Kamikaze Loggia team

A brief overview of people who presented the Kamikaze Loggia at the 55th Venice Biennial.

From the pavilion catalogue, Venie 2013

Domestic Resistance of Bouillon Group

Meet the Bouillon Group, the new wave of underground art. The collective of Nato Vatsadze, Vaso Macharadze, Temo Kartlelishvili, Koka Kitiashvili, Katia Ketsbaia, Lado Kharatishvili and Zuka Kikvadze have long left the gallery space in search of the perfect balance between the artistic responsibility and self-irony. 

From the pavilion catalogue, Venice 2013


LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT - Iliko Zautashvili at 55th Venice Biennale


55th Venice Biennale saw an opening of Love Me, Love Me Not, an exhibition of contemporary art, bringing together works of 17 artists from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Iran and the art collective Slavs and Tatars. 

Love Me, Love Me Not, is an eponymous title of Slavs and Tatars' work "where the collective pluck the petals off the past to reveal an impossibly thorny stem: entire metropolises are caught like children in the spiteful back and forth of a custody battle, representing the evolution of the region over time - a theme which is at the core of this exhibition".

The exhibition was put together by, Yarat, an organisation from Azerbaijan whose main aim is to nurture an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan and create a platform of Azerbaijani art nationally and internationally.

Having such a distinctly national focus, it was surprising to see Yarat produce an exposition showcasing Azerbaijan and it's neighbours. The accompanying catalogue boldly put Azerbaijan in the centre of Caucasian region as a cultural crossroad between Russia and Iran. Although, missed any representation from Armenia, a country directly neighbouring and in a constant 'custody battle' with Azerbaijan.

It, however, included a work by Iliko Zautashvili, an artist and a professor of Art History at the Tbilisi Academy of Art, Georgia.  Iliko's art installation 'Time disappears in Time' consisted of his stapled cushions with printed calendars scattered on the floor together with 3 flat screens screening his video works and referring to the notion of time passing.

In the grandeur of Azerbaijani art, exploring ancient traditions of carpet weaving and recreating Nizami's romantic epic, Iliko Zautashvili's work seemed unequivocally melancholic. Putting it in a regional context, it almost said: 'Georgia's future is gone'.

2006-2013, Twelve pillows with black and white screen-prints, three flat screens, Video with sound, Length: 3 mins, 50 secs/loop
Courtesy of the artist