51- or culture comeback


“for better building”

slogan on Heidelbergcement bag.

I hope residents of Tbilisi will call Aghmashenebeli avenue Aghmashenebeli at least from now on. The “native” district, only recently liberated from acrobatic cranes and scaffolds, became so foreign to the joyful “Plekhanovi” spirti  that it slowly started moving  to the outskirts of the city.

From this point of view, fairly damaged building located on Uznadze street, number 5 , can be considered lucky as  Centre of Contemporary Art  – Tbilisi has recently undertook to restore its function of “forgotten-by-everyone”  Georgian Medical Museum named after Mikheil Shengelia .

To make it short, as those who accept compromises would say in such case, the symbiosis of ancient and new will take place in 150 year-old building. And if such moderate approach becomes a standard, I believe the “archaic” mentality of this place will easily get used to novelties. Not to mention the fact that there is no place left for the “left bank” myths and mysteries compressed almost to the bank of river Mtkvari.

Meanwhile, art is not art if it confines everything to well-proven frame and does not try to change something to follow its ambitious nature. Especially since ongoing postmodern crisis offers more than enough synthesis of ancient and new, “high” and “low” cultures with its bothersome banality.

I should accuse our laziness, or else pretty old postmodern ideas in Georgian contemporary art should not be as well-adjusted as it is. But at one time, after the example of Niko Pirosmanishvili and Davit Kakabadze(carrying out  the  idea of modernism in absolutely different contexts), Georgians should have found the way out in the impenetrable jungle of art a long time ago.

However, it should be noted that the fate would not allow us to remain in the common condition of “bad taste” for a long time, and Tbilisi, as a mystic city, situated on 41st geographical parallel  (Zdanevich discovery) starts to set its irrational abilities in motion. At this point, everything is usually put in its place.

This is exactly what naturally happened in our case, when contemporary art chose Georgian Medicine Museum for “recovery”. From now on, everyone can glimpse at the mystic processes of current catharsis in “51st house”.

Moreover, we should agree with the fact that the ending of postmodernism implies the ending of Contemporary art and audaciously declare that Marcel Duchamp’s wheel which started spinning in 1913, has stopped  at Uznadze street N51-exactly on its 100th anniversary and we were one of the pioneers to return  to “culture” with hammer, saw and Haidelbergcement bag in hands (J. Habermas) and perceive the creative process with more modesty and love.

Even from the 60s of the last century, the critical opinion of western art paid close attention to the dangers of exaggerated subjectivity and materialism in art. It pointed to the hopeless situation in which contemporary art would inevitably find itself after some time.

On the other hand, in the realized initiatives of Centre of Contemporary  Art -Tbilisi, one can already see the existence of nonmaterial phenomenon, such as: presentation of sharing, kindness and love. This components can still be found in Georgian traditional village environment with its basis in agriculture, interaction with which is remarkably achieved by the Centre of Contemporary  Art -Tbilisi, through its project “field academy” in Village Shindisi.

Unique experience acquired in “village” can be brought to the new space of  “Georgian Medicine Museum”, where mysticism of Zaza Panaskerteli manuscript “karabadini” , or the practice of going deeper in medical psalms, wonderfully expresses the idea of historian Giorgi Chubinashvili (work that was found in the museum as well)  about the ability to transform a person through spiritual means.

Therefore, we could assume that working on interesting museum materials, which have not been studied yet, will be useful both for Georgian medicine history and for the necessary process of “art transformation”.

It should be mentioned that such a perspective of scientific and art development was supported by the ministry of culture and heritage. This support expended the capacity of working on this initiative comprehensively.

In conclusion, I would like to thank people, whose absolute unselfishness not only saved the museum exhibits but also retained the function of the building. Activities or personal characteristics of Mr. Ramaz Shengelia (Director of the Museum), Mr. Misha Tavadze (Director Assistant) and Mr. Zura Apkhazishvili (Artist) conditioned the future of this place in a peculiar way.

The research in the mystic context of “the history of the country, nation, its language and cultural phenomenon” which was the Prof. Ramaz Shengelia’s interest in his scientific work, still refers to the “irrational perspective”, which is highly  possible for the art petrified in “Hyperrealism” as well.

Uninterrupted scientific work of Prof. Shengelia is resonated in parallel mode by the “expressive” work of Zura Apkhazishvili. (Zura has created a workshop in one corner of the building and was diligently giving a new life to the”standstill spirit” of the museum), while Misha Tavadze’s  “Tbilisi Accents” was giving additional patterns to the general cultural context, which in our case can be called the unity of science, art and sight specific.

Finally, resources projected here, is united by the support of businessman Mr. Teimuraz Ugulava, which creates a good preconditions for the further development of Georgian art and medicine museum initiative.

As a result, the possibility is created on the basis of the museum. The possibility to observe Georgian Medicine in global context with new directions and perspectives in the future, yet on the grounds of “Medea of Colchis”.

As regards to the “ready-made” contemporary art, I should say, that it does not need the outdated countercultural manipulations. Today, there still is a chance to find the “ascending reality clouds” way, indicated by Davit Kakabadze in the beginning of 20th century, through obedience and simplicity. Otherwise, we have to give our sincere condolence to the art in sorrowful position: let the museum dust be “light” for it as well.

Author:  Edisher beradze

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