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The Avant-Garde in Georgia – BOZAR/Centre for Fine Arts, Belgium

5 Oct — 14 Jan 2024

The opening exhibition of the europalia georgia festival, The Avant-Garde in Georgia (1900-1936), will present, for the very first time in Europe, a largely forgotten chapter in the history of avantgarde art. The Georgian avant-garde will be shown and contextualised through a large body of works (paintings, drawings, books, films, photographs and decors as well as costumes from films and theatre plays) mainly kept in Georgia.


In the aftermath of the fall of the Russian Empire and the October Revolution, in a turbulent world context, Georgia declared its independence in 1918. This brief, enchanted interlude ended with the Soviet invasion of 1921. Nevertheless, it allowed for an abundant and inspiring avant-garde creation to flourish. Artists developed new artistic practices that redefined a general attitude to life, which took many forms and combined Georgian traditions with Eastern and Western influences. They interacted in paintings, drawings, writing, films, photographs, performances, typographic research, books and plays. Movements as diverse as (neo-)Symbolism, Futurism, Dadaism, Zaum, Everythingism, Expressionism, Cubism and Cubo-Futurism coexisted in an unprecedented creative ferment. The year 1936 and the great purges ordered by Stalin’s regime marked the end of Georgian avant-garde creation, but the ideas persisted down the generations and resurfaced in the 1970s.


With works by, among others, Elene Akhvlediani, Irakli Gamrekeli, Gigo Gabashvili, Nutsa Gogoberidze, Lado Gudiashvili, David Kakabadze, Shalva Kikodze, Kote Mikaberidze, Petre Otskheli, Niko Pirosmani, Alexander Salzmann, Ilya and Kirill Zdanevich. A programme of performances and guided tours will complete the exhibition, giving visitors an even deeper insight into the creative wealth of the Georgian avant-garde. With, among others : Meggy Rustamova, Koen Peeters, Régis Gayraud, Elene Abashidze, Bojan Djordjev and Adilei choir.


Curators: Nana Kipiani, Irine Jorjadze and Tea Tabatadze, in collaboration with europalia.


With special thanks to the David Kakabadze Foundation for the room on David Kakabadze and especially to the Founding Director Mariam Kakabadze and Curator Nina Akhlvediani.

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