Exhibition of 2 Families of Architects from Georgia & Germany in Tbilisi

On June 27, in relation to the 200th anniversary of Georgian-German relations, an architectural exhibition called “Dynasties, Parallel Perspectives” opened in Tbilisi’s historic Karvasla Museum, located on Sioni Str. The exhibition showcases two families of architects- the Kurdiani family from Georgia and the Böhms from Germany.

The display features architectural works by Georgian architects Grigol Kurdiani (1873-1957), Archil Kurdiani (1903-1988), Ketevan Sokolova-Porakishvili (1905-1988), Gia Kurdiani (1931-2014), and celebrated German architects Domenikus Böhm (1880-1955), Gottfried Böhm, Elizabeth Böhm (1921-2012), Stephan Böhm, Peter Böhm and Paul Böhm.

The exhibition showcasing 40 buildings constructed by the renowned architects from both countries was organized by Goethe Institut in cooperation with the National Museum of Georgia. Mikheil Tsereteli, Deputy Director of the Georgian National Museum, welcomed guests and highlighted the significance of the project. Barbara Von Münchhausen, Director of the Goethe Institut, and Irina Kurtishvili, the curator of the exhibition, also welcomed attendees.

“Irina Kurtishvili, the art curator, came up with the idea of doing a parallel exhibition of two very important families, Georgia’s Kurdiani and the Böhms from Germany. Six architects from the Kurdiani family were present at the exhibition as well as the architects from the Böhm dynasty. We chose to showcase 40 different buildings as a comprehensive show incorporating generations of architects,” Von Münchhausen told GEORGIA TODAY.

Distinguished architects from Germany and the sons of Gottfried Böhm, renowned for having built numerous churches throughout Germany, Stephan Böhm, Peter Böhm and Paul Böhm, paid a visit to Georgia together with their families to see the exhibition. 98-year-old Gottfried Böhm is the only German architect to have been awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

One of his sons, Peter, a celebrated German architect himself, whose works were also exposed at the venue, praised the exhibition.

“I am very glad and proud to be invited to Georgia for this exhibition,” he told us. “It is my first time in Georgia and I have heard a lot of fantastic things about this country. The display of two dynasties of architects demonstrates the development of architecture in different countries from the 20th century to date. This event is very exciting and I think people should definitely come and see it. It was extremely interesting to see the development of Georgian architecture through this exposition. Architecture is always relevant to the development of society, and both the Georgian and German people have undergone different stages and have had different experiences that are reflected in their buildings, yet they still have one main similarity: both families were doing architecture for people and individuals. Their core aim was to create space for people and suit their needs.”

The buildings documented and displayed at Karvasla still function in both countries and represent an integral part of their culture, appearance and identity. The images depict 40 monuments reflecting the epochs the two countries and two dynasties went through.

Curator Kurtishvili worked for around three years gathering all the materials and conducting research in order to present the architectural masterpieces of two countries in Tbilisi.

“I have been based in Cologne, Germany, for around 24 years,” she told GEORGIA TODAY. “Over the past 12 years, I have been working on organizing exhibitions with a primary focus on architecture. I have organized several exhibitions already, including an exhibition on the House of the Artist in Tbilisi, and exhibitions in the Museum of Literature and Museum of Cinema. This particular display is my sixth. Dynasties is about two families of architects from Georgia and Germany marking the 200th anniversary of relations between the countries.”

The author of the exhibition thanked National Archive of Georgia as well as Architecture Museum of Germany for providing the valuable photo material for organizing the exhibition as well as Georgian photographer Sandro Sulaberidze for capturing the important buildings constructed by the Kurdiani family in Tbilisi.

“In 2014, I organized a large-scale exhibition ‘The House of the Artist’ in Georgia that fell victim to civil war and was later was demolished,” Kurtishvili told us. “I looked into how the historic building was destroyed and why and at that point discovered a new construction by famous architect Archil Kurdiani. I decided to organize an exhibition telling the story of generations of architects. The city of Cologne is famous for the Böhm family of architects, who designed a number of bold buildings. So I got in touch with both the Georgian and German dynasties and told them my intentions. When I started searching for materials, I discovered many images in the Architecture Museum of Frankfurt that are included in this display in Tbilisi. As for my favorite monuments, I would single out the bridge connecting Didube and Dighomi districts in Tbilisi, designed by the Kurdianis: it does not have the elements characteristic to the Stalin era, it is quite a small bridge with two arches and a refined design. I also like the residential houses by Ketevan Sokolova-Kurdiani – the first Georgian female architect and the wife of Archil Kurdiani.”

The exhibition program, aside from a photo display, includes a series of events, meetings with the architects, discussions and film screenings. The exposition at Karvasla Museum will last until September 10, 2018.

By Lika Chigladze

28 June 2018 20:28