20 JUN / 18:00 The National Gallery
From June 20, 2023, through September 10, 2023, the exhibition Art Inspired by Freedom will be presented at the Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery. The exhibition which marks anniversary of Otar Chkhartishvili's 85th birthday, is divided into two sections: "Four Seasons. My Yard" and "New Realism." The exhibition will feature up to 60 works by the artist, including paintings, collages, assemblages, and objects created between 1967 and 2002, from the Georgian National Museum and the artist's family collections.
In the 1970s, Otar Chkhartishvili established himself as a leading Georgian nonconformist artist. He participated in the so-called "Bulldozer Exhibition" in 1974, as well as in the unsanctioned exhibitions arranged in the apartments of Alexander Glazer and Evgeny Rukhin. The close relationship between Otar Chkhartishvili and the circle of Moscow "underground" artists, as well as the acquisition of his collage “Elephant” by the Zimmerli Art Museum (New Jersey, USA) in 1977, aroused the KGB's interest. From the late 1960s to the 1990s, I bore the cross of the anti-Soviet artist, and that’s why my art became a weapon against totalitarianism and atheism." wrote the artist in his autobiography.
When it comes to his art or his life, he makes no compromises. His artworks, created with unusual materials or items, taken out of their usual context, undermined the unshakeable principles of social realism and academic dogmas. Otar Chkhartishvili's quest pointed out the artist's goal of finding an artistic method that expressed a modern mood rather than ideology. In this way, he remained steady and truthful until the very end. He devoted his life and art to the pursuit of self-renewal.
The conceptual series "Four Seasons: My Yard" (1980–1998) is a highlight of his body of work. When the focus shifts from the aesthetic to the concept, an anti-formalist approach appears for the first time in Georgian art.
Otar Chkhartishvili's artworks are kept in museums and private collections, including the Georgian National Museum and the Zimmerli Art Museum (New Jersey, USA). In 2016, two paintings by Otar Chkhartishvili, "On the Roof" and "Sukhumi," were sold for auction at Sotheby's.
Otar Chkhartishvili's final years are devoid of ambition; the artist has developed an unusual tranquility. In his final years, the existential and social solutions of his artistic self-expression coincided: as a social artist, he adopted the task of a teacher and created the book "The Beginnings of Teaching Fine Arts." At the opening of the exhibition, "The Beginnings of Teaching Fine Arts" by Otar Chkharishvili will be presented.
The project is organized by the Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth of Georgia.
The exhibition is curated by Alexandra Gabunia and co-curated by Nino Asanidze.
Opening: Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at 18:00
Through: Sunday, September 10, 2023
Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery
11 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. Tbilisi