For the fairs '23 edition, we are presenting amazing cast of young Georgian artists : Gvantsa Jishkariani, Mariam Aqubardia, together with living legend of Georgian Art - Malkhaz Gorgadze works, most of which were specially created for the Fair! Despite the fact that these artists at first glance have radically different working methods, common threads can be identified though their works.
Above-mentioned artists are all interested in traditional craft, from which they draw inspiration and then interpret it in their own way. There is an interesting dialogue between the works presented on the stand - on the one hand, the dialogue of generations, on the other hand, Malkhaz Gorgadze, as a representative of the generation of Soviet Georgian artists, whose visual legacy has become so influential for a new generation of Georgian contemporary artists, such as Gvantsa Jishkariani and Mariam Aqubardia.
There is an interesting interplay with the materials that the above-mentioned artists work in. Malkhaz Gorgadze, as a representative of the ‘Soviet Golden Age’ artists, works on monumental scale and produces heavy works, both visually and physically. He paints his idyllic compositions on wooden panels overlaid with cloth. Gorgadze muses on phillosophical concepts employing simplified figurative compositions that remind of the Mexican mural paintings.
Mariam Aqubardia’s large scale paintings are in an interesting conversation with Gorgadze’s; both having excellent knowledge in academic painting, work through the obtained information and construct their unique signature styles. For Gorgadze it is simplified figurative compositions, reminding of both Mexican mural paintings and naive art, for Aqubardia it is photographic realism and abstract painting that she plays between and produces enchanting figurative compositions with a technique of blurring. Aqubardia’s Art is quite personal - it revolves around her own experiences, memories and pains, but then is elevated into a more generalised, universal quality.
Malkhaz Gorgadze has been painting for all of his life, but it was largerly an unknown fact to wider circles; he held his first solo show in 2020 at The Why Not Gallery. However, he had a successful creative career and was mainly known for his large scale outdoor commissions around Georgia. Many of the monumental mosaic and relief panoramas Gvantsa Jishkariani grew up admiring, were actually created by Malkhaz Gorgadze. According to Jishkariani, those were her first encounters with art that have affected her so intensely, that she grew up to become an artist. Jishkariani was one the first artists to dare and return to mosaic art, so strongly associated with Soviet period in local context and despised because of that. She researches through the tradition of the craft, carefully studies history and then produces her own interpretations in a strongly defined visual language. Her works often deal with her personal emotions and experiences, as well as reflect socio-political conditions of present-day Georgia.
Gvantsa Jishkariani (b.1991, Rustavi) is a Tbilisi-based multimedia artist and curator. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Tbilisi State Academy of the Fine Arts (2013), then completed an informal master's program at the Centre of Contemporary Art-Tbilisi (2014). Dedicated to experimentation, the artist likes to explore traditional craft – investigate her own associations, research into the tradition and then employ the knowledge to create her art. Her works often deal with her personal emotions and experiences as well as reflect socio-political conditions of present-day world. The artist often employs humour to address these deeply personal and highly relevant topics.
Jishkariani is widely exhibited in Georgia as well as abroad including New York, Brussels, Vienna, Prague, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Naples among others. In 2021 she received Prince Claus Foundation Seed Awards. In 2020 she was selected for the Forbes 30 under 30 list, in 2019 she won the NARS Foundation Studio Grant, New York and in 2017 the artist received the Tsinandali Award in Visual Arts. Her artworks are in private collections worldwide including MSGM Collection, Alain Servais Collection, TBC Bank Collection, Collezione Taurisano, Maria Larsson Collection, Vasili Tsereteli Collection, Papashvili Collection, Agovino Collection, The State Silk Museum, Georgia.
Apart from her artistic practice, Jishkariani has an equally vibrant curatorial career. She is a founder of Tbilisi-based galleries Patara Gallery (2017) and The Why Not Gallery (2018), dedicated to supporting young Georgian artists. She was the curator of the Tbilisi Photo Festival Night of Photography (2017, 2018, 2019). Jishkariani was the founder of the first Georgian online magazine Gargar magazine on art and fashion (2013-18).
Malkhaz Gorgadze was born in 1941, Tbilisi to the family of artists Bidzina and Elene Gorgadze. After graduating from the Academy of Arts in 1965, a ceramicist by profession, Malkhaz Gorgadze, soon got involved in the city redevelopment projects. In different districts of Tbilisi, many mosaic or relief panoramas, familiar to everyone, were created by Malkhaz Gorgadze. However, few know that throughout his artistic career, he also created paintings and still actively continues to paint.
The following works are from the 1970s to the present day. Paintings and tapestries woven according to the artist’s sketches. Monumental and mesmerising works that have been created over the 50 years are a celebration of exquisite shapes and colour schemes. These paintings, created with excellent knowledge of academic drawing, follow a single storyline – of idyllic, tropical landscapes and people lost in them; a sea of metaphors and allegories, philosophical discourses and existential questions, uncommon readings of biblical parables, references to the masters of art and a mysterious charm that makes an indelible impression on the viewer.
The works radiate with powerful, inexhaustible, energy, a visual demonstration of Joie de vivre, of the spirit of his generation – that can be called the golden generation of the Soviet Georgia.
Malkhaz Gorgadze works in Tbilisi, Georgia