Aleksi Soselia
Interview

- How did you find your place on the Georgian contemporary art scene?

 

-I came to the Centre for Contemporary Art in 2010 and was one of the first students. I both studied and worked there. Before that I worked in different fields, studied economics and law. When I am doing something, the first thing I am interested in is the environment, the atmosphere, where a person may inadvertently find himself as a spectator.

 

We often did different works while studying, but the first big project that comes to mind is the Georgian Video Art Archive, which my friends and I worked on together. An online archive that is by far the only archive in the field of contemporary art. The idea and content of the archive was so important to me that I see it as my artwork; I perceive the archive as a living organism ... We have a lot of institutions in Georgia, where no one looks for information, it is quite difficult to get in there and these institutions are not welcoming. We wanted tto give access to those who were studying or teaching in the field of contemporary art. In the 21st century, if you cannot find anything on the Internet, you cannot find it and you cannot see it in the physical body, then where can you find what you need?!

 

There was also a big problem that everyone thought they were inventing something new, but it had already been invented, done and rebuilt many times. It was very interesting to understand the information gathered together - you can understand what your background is, where you are today and where you will go in the future. Because one cannot find themselves directly in the future.

 

The archive has traveled everywhere, and we still participate in various forums or festivals... In addition, I was already working on video work, painting, photography. For me, the medium does not matter that much... the main thing is the topic I want to discuss and then I find the medium by which I express myself. Painting is a painting, a photo, is a photo, but it is the context, the situation, the environment that makes the work. For example, I can start cleaning the gallery and that will be that. This is what my friends and I are mostly focused on. Everyone does everything that is needed, no matter what it will be.

- How do you see the development of contemporary art in Georgia?

 

- It has developed by a lot. For example, the first place for us was CCA, it was the first white cube space in Tbilisi. The first year of my studies coincided with its opening, I was involved in everything – it is the best practice when you learn by doing.

 

The CCA is an educational institution, the main focus of which is new teaching methods. It is not the most cutting-edge approach, but here this need existed. Because such opportunities were not given to students at the Art Academy. At that time very few people came to the exhibitions, only a small, closed circle of people who already knew each other.

 

But over the years the number of people who were really interested in art increased quite a bit and mostly increased at the expense of the educational process taking place at the CCA, so many people got involved and finally this format paid off.

The problem in Georgia is that there are not many places where you can learn something, have a lot of freedom and with it more responsibility. There are no specific evaluation criteria in the CCA, everything is a process. What is difficult for the CCA is that there are no funding sources that will be long-term. Nobody sponsors education in this country and the challenge for us is how to make our system accessible to everyone.

- Should art projects be financed more by the state?

 

- First of all, the state should invest money to diversify our environment and encourage educational or innovative projects and ideas. Then people will create the rest for themselves in these spaces. It is better to teach a person the methods and techniques that are important and then they will find the direction for themselves.

 

-Should an artist have discipline?

 

- I cannot be radical, because everyone has their own individual process in terms of how to approach a subject. It's just that the stereotypical views people see in movies are often wrong. The main thing is to work hard, you also have to be curios and self-disciplined, without which nothing will really come out. At least a problem with concentration arises when there is no discipline. For me personally the content is important, the essence is crucial, forms are a separate issue. On the one hand, you need very good observational and analytical skills. There are many, for example, who think that with the help of a curator they will be able to do many things, but this approach is quite redundant. Nothing should prevent you from being able to represent yourself, formulate a project, a thought, and convey it to people. Without this, everything becomes quite difficult. Philosophical depths are very important to many, but for me it is more interesting that a person regardless of age can understand what he wants, what he does and what he works on.

-As a curator, what is your working process?

 

I see a curator as a mediator. A person, who is between an artistic practice and a society and mediates the processes, so that these spaces intersects and a novelty is born out of this interaction. An artwork is complete when a person see it and if no one sees it, it does not exist. For me curating is more of an act of mediation and that’s what I mean when I say that one needs new people to develop what they are working on. You should always try to present an issue in its multitude, be it yours, accidental or a result of long research. The important thing is to constantly be doing something and trying to make things slightly, slightly better.

 

It is important to observe and work with a lot of people. Everyone is an artist, everyone creates something and still has the ability to be creative, be it a biophysicist or an accountant. Someone is learning at the molecular level, you are learning at the visual level, and you are both teaching the subject to other people, and that diversity is exactly what matters. Then if you give such people the opportunity to get you involved in the process, the audience grows already.

 

-Where do you encounter art in Tbilisi?

 

-We worked on a book called ‘Tbilisi an archive of transition’, where the city is researched as a living organism, as an archive, as a source of information. People, nature, both together and all this is art, which is not something separate, but is part of Tbilisi. This is a sculpture that exists in this city. If we talk specifically about art spaces that are in this city, there are quite a lot of them, even some people are living and moving artworks themselves.