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Artist Kakhaber Gogokhia: “I appreciate the genius of Raphael, but prefer the works of Jazep Drazdovich and Alena Kish”

Artist Kakhaber Gogokhia: “I appreciate the genius of Raphael, but prefer the works of Jazep Drazdovich and Alena Kish”
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We met with Mr Kakhaber Gogokhia, a Georgian artist and sculptor, at the National Library of Belarus, where the 25th anniversary of the Republican Center of National Cultures was celebrated on December 19. Mr Gogokhiawas one of the participants of the event.

It was impossible to pass by his sculptures presented in photographs. The flowing lines of the figures seemed as if frozen in a dance move. Expressive, plastic, forming a perfect ellipse, they resonated, reminding of the Byzantine icons in their musicality.

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The series of works is dedicated to the Georgian alphabet. The lines of the Georgian calligraphy are similar to the flexible and smooth movements of a female body, the sculptor believes. He transforms the plasticity of letters into the plasticity of human bodies.

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Such sculptures could embellish any interior. Unfortunately, most of them are now collapsing, as they are made of short-lived material – plasticine.

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The National Library is an ideal place for self-education

This is not the first time for Mr Kakhaber Gogokhia at the National Library. He is a frequent visitor here, and he used to have a workshop in a nearby district of Minsk, Uruchcha. The artist believes that self-education played a very important part in his professional growth, and the Library provided the ideal environment.

“You have a lot of publications for studying the world artistic heritage,” he admits. “I would spend hours in the Fine Arts Reading Room, looking through the art reproduction albums and reading the art criticism research papers. Besides, there are many exhibition venues in the Library where the displays are regularly updated. The art projects organized by Fyodor Yastreb left a lasting impression on me. 

As well as the virtual project The Wonderful World of Jazep Drazdovich, dedicated to the 130th anniversary of this amazing artist. It's good that you could collect all his famous pieces, including oil painting, graphics and watercolours, wood carvings, painted carpets and his personal photos, literature and movies about his artistry in one place.”

“Some popular modern artists will be forgotten over time, but Drozdovich will be remembered for centuries”

“Surprisingly, while I appreciate the renowned geniuses, I prefer the works of primitivism artists. I think that Drozdovich deserves his personal museum in Minsk. The pieces showcased at the National Art Museum and in Zaslavl cannot provide proper insight into the depth of his talent. And how wonderful and original are the painted carpets by Alena Kish! It is a pity that the world only knows Pirosmani, when his equals are worthy of attention too. Some popular modern artists will be forgotten over time, but Drozdovich will be remembered for centuries.

“In art, I appreciate the synthesis of realism with the spirit, an element of religious ecstasy, continues the artist. I love ancient iconography, frescoes, works by Giotto, Masaccio, Leonardo's La Gioconda, Rafael's Madonnas. The art of Gauguin, Cezanne, Modigliani, Munch, Chagall among modern artists. I admire children's drawings, their intuitive sense of colour and composition. I am trying to move away from formal craft to minimalism in my artistic process.”

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Pablo Picasso: “The artist paints not what he sees, but what he feels”

An exhibition of Mr Kakhaber Gogokhia's works From the Origins is held in the Printed Music Library from February 8 to March 6, 2020.

“Each artist sees and depicts the world in his own way,” – pointed out Mr Sergey Dyurichko, Organizer of Art Exhibitions at the Printed Music Library in his opening speech. “Some strive for absolute photographic likeness to the original, others... Mr Kakhaber Gogokhia belongs to the latter. His works don't mirror reality; they are his fantasies, dreams, and associations connected to it.”

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"The origins of his artistry lie in folk culture", Mr Sergey Dyurichko believes. "They are in traditional Georgian oil paintings with their dark background tones and bright bursts of colours – characteristic of expressionists – added by the artist. You can talk about his art in the context of the works of such masters as Edvard Munch, Marc Chagall, Jazep Drozdovich, Mikalojus Čiurlionis. His works are also close to modernism. Lyrical and philosophical images in terms of style bring us to such human archetypes as life, death, love, family, and homeland in terms of the content..."

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From the Origins

It is no coincidence that the exhibition is called From the Origins. Speaking about his roots, Mr Kakhaber Gogokhia recalls that he spent his childhood in a very beautiful area, surrounded by picturesque mountains. His grandfather’s brother was a well-known local storyteller; his sister wrote poetry. The father of the future artist, an engineer by profession, became the best toastmaster in the city. Many men in the family mastered various crafts, built houses; having an intrinsically great taste, they made beautiful things with their own hands. Mr Gogokhia's brothers draw well, although they haven’t received any training. The artist considers it very important for himself to preserve the traditions of the original folk culture.

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Ms Tatyana Matkovskaya, Head of the Printed Music Library, Mr Stanislav Fedchenko, architect, the author of the poem book They Call Architecture Still Music and fellow citizens of the artist Ms Mzia Akobia, journalist, teacher and the author of Georgian language textbooks, and Mr Malkhaz Parulava, historian, spoke highly of the artistry of Mr Kakhaber Gogokhia. The piano and violin music performed by Ms Elena Balabanova, teacher of M. Glinka Minsk State Music College and her students added to the warm atmosphere of the exhibition. The pieces by Giya Kancheli, Belarusian and foreign composers were performed.

In memory of the meeting, the artist donated his painting Georgian Musicians to the Printed Music Library.

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Mr Kakhaber Gogokhia was born in 1971 in the city of Tkvarcheli (Abkhazia), studied at the Sukhumi Art School and the Belarusian Academy of Arts. Lives in Minsk since 1994. Works with easel painting, sculpture and graphics. He is a participant of national and international exhibitions, his personal exhibitions were held in 2009, 2016 and 2020 in Minsk. The works are in private collections in Belarus and abroad.
Author: Ms Elena Yakovenko.
Photos by the author and from the personal archive of Mr Kakhaber Gogokhia.

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