Self-Made Generation – an Exhibition of Georgian Artists in Berlin

Once again GH 36 art space in Berlin featured a Self-Made Generation of Georgian artists exhibiting their works in Berlin from 12 - 22 February. The show, curated by Lily Fürstenow, focuses on the works of five artists: painters, Lana Mindeli, Keti Imnadze, Mariam Giorgobiani, Nino Kurashvili and ceramics artist Maisel Shakarashvili. These are artists in search and research of their identities after the fall of the iron wall at the times of arts in crisis. Thirty years after the fall of the totalitarian Soviet regime, the onslaught of neoliberalism has transformed the perception of arts drastically in Georgia, giving rise to new challenges, experimental artistic means of expression and alternative topics to analyze. The formal vocabulary of the participating artists is very different, yet they all have one in common  - an attempt to free themselves from the heritage of the past in order to cope with the challenges of the new. 

Lana Mindeli's abstract paintings explore the correlation of forms and colors. She  researches the relationality of forms that are made to appear universal.  For example the slight outlines of tree branches shimmering through several layers of color applied onto canvas or the pure abstraction in blues and golden colors where the painted lines are visible side-by-side with splashes of blue pigment running over the canvas.

The golden and black tones dominate in the works by Nino Kurashvili, a former student of famous Friedrich Hundertwasser. In her works on paper the rich opulent texture of the background shimmers whereas the contours of the forms in black outline mysterious shadows forging our imagination. The forms are deeply anchored in the artistic formal vocabulary of the Caucasian culture whereas the treatment of colour is deeply authentic.

The drawings by Mariam Giorgobiani are experimental and rich in detail. They depict the imaginary surreal spaces represented by the artist who demonstrates high merit of drawing skills. Lines and silhouettes convey the atmosphere of nostalgic spaces and enigmatic interiors. They generate the experience of color and light within a luminous matrix of lines. The works are an escape from the contemporary Georgian harsh realities, they usher into the worlds of the imaginary fantasies, into the deepness of the emotional subjective spaces – which is in a way an artistic search for utopic idyl, harmony of human relationships, an emotional self reflection. 

Keti Imnadze’s figurative world is rich in colours and metaphoric symbols. Open windows, reminiscent of Salvator Dali’s style serve here as metaphors for the medium of painting as a window into the world beyond the frames. The gaping dark spaces beneath the windows decorated with fluttering white curtains are dreamy, ominous and haunting. On the other hand hopes for new life against all odds are conveyed by an image of a young man sitting outside the prison wall topped by barbed-wire, which is an image very close to contemporary Georgia where young people often end in prison due to injustices and corruption.

Childhood related motives in Keti Imnadze's works speak to anyone  because they convey the hidden longing for the innocence, playful optimism, dreams of the past. 

Last but not least pottery by Maisel Shakarashvili reinterpret the traditional forms and heritage of Georgian handmade pottery. Wine vessels in the animal form are inspired by ancient Greek antiquity and are a beautiful addition to any interior. The special vessel for wine cooling and storage – Kvevri – for centuries used to store wine in the heat of summer is an interesting environmentally safe alternative to a refridgrator – since it allows to preserve wine in high temperatures while dug into the earth thus sparing electricity.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with the information about the participating artists group called “Chven” (ჩვენ) meaning “We” beautifully visualised in the logo by Artist Mariam Giorgobiani.

21 February 2020 15:22