Georgian Artists

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
Georgian Artists
Curated by: Maka Bakradze

23 Long Lane
London, EC1A 9HL
United Kingdom
February 20th, 2009 - April 3rd, 2009
Opening: November 6th, 2009 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

mixed-media, installation, conceptual, landscape, surrealism, figurative, modern



This exhibition, which brings together works of nearly 30 artists of different generations, provides the first comprehensive display in the United Kingdom of 20th and 21st Georgian art. Situated on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia has an art history both rich and diverse. Its artists combined the foremost international art trends with deeply routed national traditions. These 30 artists, therefore, have created an artistic kaleidoscope united by the passionate spirit that penetrates Georgian culture.

The late masters Sergo Kobuladze, Korneli Sanadze and Robert Sturua Snr were famous throughout the USSR and abroad. Viewing their paintings is like visiting some of the classic textbooks of Soviet Art.

Outstanding masters Zurab Nijaradze (Morning) and Temo Machavariani (Plekhanov Avenue, Belynsky Street) represent the middle generation, honoured in modern Georgia.

Georgian art – due to its history and geographical location – is colourful, voluptuous and gentle. A vivacious spirit penetrates these works. They can brighten up a small interior or effortlessly hold their own in a large open area. Georgian art is never low key; one cannot miss it in any mixed display.

Stunning portraits (Elena, Jorjik Khalatov) by Robert Sturua Senior, masterly in their execution, echo the traditional Georgian icons. The same native spirit prevails in the works by another leading painter – Korneli Sanadze.The striking image of the girl with thin features and burning eyes, positioned in the centre of a painting, reminds one of ancient iconic prototypes (Female Tea Plantation Worker From Adjaria).

Georgian art typically expresses stormy feelings. Sergo Kobuladze’s King Lear is a twirl of tempestuous lines driven by stormy winds. Kobuladze is arguably one of the major 20-century artists.

The younger generation of Georgian masters is united by an expressionistic approach. See, for example, Tamara Chkikhvadze’s naïve style (Untitled, Pregnant Woman), Gogi Lazarashvili’s decorative manner (No Way!), Marika Kandelaki’s photorealistic visions (Suliko, Ten Days), Esma Oniani’s romanticism (Ancestors, Portrait Of A Young Lady), Gia Bughadze’s futurism (F. List Consolation, R. Strauss Symphonia Domestica, J. Massenet Thais Meditation) and colourful works of Theodore Mukhiguly (Heater, My Brushes, Coal Basket, The Study of the Nude).

Whichever direction the painters explore, their style is always authentic. Surrealist fantasies by Vladimir Kandelaki (My burden or Who Hurts More, Festive Processions), Misha Shengelia (Royal Mail Series: Walking In the Night, Smiling Queen No 11, Dandy in Dundee) and Beso Kazaishvili (The World Of Indians, The All Seeing Eye) possess their own identity within a stream of surrealism.

Gia Gugushvili’s abstract expressionism (Trip To Greece, Red And White) is also unmistakable. The biblical miniatures of Levan Margiani bear a recognizable native spirit.

Koka Ramishivili’s works (Brunhilde And Kriemhild, Zigfrid And Brunhilde, etc), David Gagoshidze’s naïve lyrics (Fish Shepherds, Warrior’s Wife, etc) and Maya Ramishvili’s poetic creations (Pearl, Morning) draw on a thousand-year-old tradition of Georgian decorative art, colourful and monumental.

The show’s outline wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the outstanding masters Mamuka Japharidze (Painted Poems), Shalva Cheishvili (Udzo, Abandoned Hut), Karlo Kacharava (Movie Still), Maka Akhvlediani (Reminiscence, Winter in Mountains) and Helen Potschisvili (All Alone, Dreams).

This exhibition offers the chance to discover the full range of Georgian Art in its enjoyable variety.