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Solo exhibition from Georgian artist Vajiko Chachkhiani opens at YARAT Contemporary Art Space
Vajiko Chachkhiani, Installation view of Flies Bite, It’s Going To Rain, 2018, YARAT, Baku, Azerbaijan. Courtesy the artist and YARAT.

BAKU.- YARAT Contemporary Art Space presents a solo exhibition from Georgian artist Vajiko Chachkhiani. Featuring a newly commissioned body of work, the show combines various media to create an immersive environment which radically tackles ideas of myth, tradition and heritage.

Lending the exhibition its title, a monumental forest installation of dead trees encircles sculptures borrowed from both antiquity and history. Perched on wooden pedestals, the worn and cracked sculptures are either effaced, incomplete or studded with wedges which either hold them together or threaten to tear them apart. They refer to the fragmented nature of storytelling, which in Georgia is entrenched between ancient mythology and its more recent, often traumatic past.

Outside this impenetrable forest stand three wooden barns, brought together as traditional Georgian country constructions. Two of the larger barns, with intricate glass windows, are reminiscent of Georgian verandas, similar in form to the construction Chachkhiani used for his Venice Biennale pavilion in 2017. Nostalgic places of leisure and time spent with family, the constructions also point towards an underlying problematic relationship with memories, heritage and internal emptiness.

One of the smaller barns shows a newly commissioned video, “Glass Bones”. A dark and daring contemporary interpretation of a popular Georgian fairy-tale, in which a son sacrifices his mother’s heart for an impossible love, the video is a Lacanian exploration of the fragile relationship between desire, life and death, carried through generations by help of myths and folklore. Inquisitive and bold in manner, the artist probes tales that often pass unexamined yet have a tremendous effect on our understanding of identity; family, national belonging and self. In the artist’s own words, “this show is about history and mythology and the way they define contemporary psychology”.

The exhibition is curated by Suad Garayeva-Maleki

Vajiko Chachkhiani (b. 1985 in Tbilisi, Georgia) lives and works in Berlin and Tbilisi. He studied at the University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin, with Prof. Gregor Schneider until 2013. Previously, he studied Mathematics and Informatics at the Technical University Tbilisi. Numerous exhibitions have followed since, including the solo exhibition "Both" at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen and "Many Lives Passing Through While Imitating Death" in 2015, an outdoor installation at Kunsthaus Dahlem, Berlin in collaboration with the Neue Berliner Räume, and Freie Universität, Berlin. In 2017, his work was shown in two group exhibitions at the Hamburger Kunsthalle: "WAITING. Between Power and Possibility "and" wieder und wider". His latest solo exhibition was "Heavy Metal Honey” (Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn).

In 2018 Chachkhiani received Villa Aurora Fellowship in Los Angeles and a Residency Grant Tokas in Tokyo. In 2017, his work "Living Dog Among Dead Lions" was shown in the Georgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, curated by Julian Heynen. Vajiko Chachkhiani was awarded the Rubens Promotional Award in 2017. He is currently nominated for the Kunstpreis Böttcherstraße 2018, which is affiliated to an exhibition in the Kunsthalle Bremen. Chachkhiani’s work includes films, sculptures, performances, photographs and large-scale installations. He is represented by Daniel Marzona, Berlin and Scai the bathhouse, Tokyo.

Vajiko Chachkhiani’s individual works are characterized in their overall compositions by a dense narration that suggests various tracks and interweaves everything in dramaturgical density. On the finely balanced interface between the reality of the outside world and the inner human psyche, they delve into existential questions of life, human perception and the culture of remembrance.

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