Heroes of Stagnation
Size: Room installation
Material: Photos on gyps plates, wood, wallpaper
Place: National Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
Collaboration: With Nino Purtskhvanidze
Photographer Nino Purtskhvanidze made photos of famous Georgians – intellectuals, writers, and other people working in culture during the Soviet era. I built a site-specific installation designed for these photos at the exhibition venue in Tbilisi. The National Gallery, or the Blue Gallery at that time, was also a hero of stagnation, having enjoyed past glory without having a defined future in the new Georgia.
Walls were specifically built to display the photographs and they were neatly covered with the wallpapers that were popular in the seventies in Georgia. But the back sides of these walls were unfinished, and often construction leftovers were stuck behind them. The installation was a reaction to the situation in Georgia at that time – there is always a reverse side to every façade, which is often not shown or openly discussed.
In the middle of the gallery, I built a shabby wooden staircase. It had a bridge-like form without a connecting function. Inspiration for these stairs came from a wooden construction that I saw built as a parasite on the central square in Tbilisi, where the Soviet parades used to take place before. The absurdity of these shabby stairs, built directly on the representative facade, made me realize that the Soviet era was over.
This project also dealt with the gap between different generations in Georgia. The struggle between generations can be found everywhere, but in Georgia, where drastic changes took place following the fall of the Soviet Union, a huge gap appeared. The exhibition platform was also used to discuss this gap and the challenges that came with it.