Artistic Couples: Merab Gagiladze

In continuation of GEORGIA TODAY’s collaboration with BI Auction, presenting our readers Georgian artistic couples, this month we will be writing about Merab Gagiladze and Irma Kusiani.

“This is a very special Artistic Couple for me,” said Bengü Akcardak, co-founder of BI Auction. “Four years ago, when I first visited them to collect paintings for our Auction, they really supported my initiative to promote Contemporary Art, but from our conversation about the local art market, I got the feeling they did not expect success. Four years on and they are still selling well abroad, but more important for me, they are quite well known and selling in Georgia.”

Read on to find how art exhibitions were run during black-outs, the aesthetical mirror of society that is, or should be, art, and more, in our interview with Merab Gagiladze.

Who first introduced you to art? How and when did you start painting?

I’ve been painting since I was little. I don’t even remember when I started. Of course in my childhood art was just a way to have fun, but slowly it became a need, a requirement for me to be myself.

Who had the biggest impact on your work early on in your career?

At different times, different great painters had an impact on my career and how I viewed my work. For example, in my youth, impressionism was very in, but at the time I was more inspired by renaissance painters, and in all honesty, I’m still under the influence of them. Late renaissance painting has always been my favorite, from Michelangelo and Titiani, to Jan van Eyck to Rembrandt.

How important do you deem professional education in shaping an artist?

Professional education is a vital part of being an artist. Without it, I can’t imagine great painting. I believe it’s one thing to express your feelings and emotions, and another to be able to deliver this to the audience. To do the latter, you need a professional education.

Have you had to overcome any challenges in your pursuit of art?

Of course it was no piece of cake: when I was getting my basic education in art, Georgia was going through a very difficult period. The learning process had nearly stopped, but somehow I managed to work on my art and exhibit my paintings. Sometimes it got so bad we weren’t able to find materials for painting. However, us painters stood together and helped each other, and so continued to make art. I remember several friends and I organized an exhibition of our works and because of the blackout, the audience studied our paintings by flashlight.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of living with a fellow artist?

I’ve been living with my spouse for 30 years now. We work side by side, we listen to each other, we give advice, we are very objective critics of each other’s works : all these are advantages. Of course, we don’t always agree with each other and stand on our ground firmly – we argue a lot but still, I don’t see this as a disadvantage. I think that is what makes this process priceless.

What would you say about the contemporary Georgian art scene?

I will be very subjective about this and say that we are one of the leading ones in global contemporary art, and that we are able to compete, and are already competing with the rest of the world. Of course, we’ve got our problems, and most of them point to the smallness of the Georgian market.

What is your biggest inspiration these days?

In the present and in the past, my feelings and emotions have always been my inspiration.

What do you think art’s main mission is?

I don’t know what art is meant to serve, but I have always been in favor of the aesthetics, and if art is the mirror of society, I want this mirror to show everything, but aesthetically.

What do you want to tell people through your paintings?

I don’t think I have to tell people something through my art – it somehow sounds too pretentious. I’m simply following the process, studying people and our feelings, our psycho-emotional states, and am trying to express all this in my own way on the canvas. Testosterone Cypionate is a drug used in bodybuilding to build muscle quickly. Used primarily as an individual means that does not require the addition of other glucocorticosteroids. Why Cypionate is so popular in the USA ? This is strange, since there is an ether more suitable for use on the market – enanthate, and no, since cypionate is produced in USA, which is why it is a very affordable anabolic in this country. Despite the fact that it differs in quite negative aspects in the form of a considerable list of possible side effects due to aromatization, at the same time, cypionate is very effective for gaining muscle mass

Have you experimented with other directions of art?

I haven’t worked with anything besides a brush and a canvas. However, I have a great desire to try sculpting. Unfortunately, I have yet to find time to do it.

What are your future plans?

My future plans are to work. I have many exhibitions planned and I hope that the problems caused to the coronavirus pandemic will just be history soon and everything will go back to normal.

Do you have any advice for artists just starting up?

The only advice I can give them is to keep working, and keep working plenty.

What do you think art auctions in general, and BI Auction in particular, play in promoting art?

Any act in this sphere will serve the art business. What I like about BI Auction is that it introduces the public to many young artists and lesser known painters. I really appreciate this.

Our interview with Merab’s spouse will be printed next week.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

About BI Auction ‘for ART’: BI Auction is the first Art Auction Company of Georgia, established in 2016. The company’s aim is to promote Georgian art and artists and enlarge the market. In four years, BI Auction ‘for ART’ has organized eight auctions and presented more than 450 paintings from 125 Georgian painters. In every auction, the collection is selected from among a thousand paintings from the well-known legendary artists of Georgia and also from promising young artists. For more information, please contact


03 September 2020 17:21