Modern Art opens an exhibition of works by Karlo Kacharava

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Modern Art opens an exhibition of works by Karlo Kacharava
Karlo Kacharava, People and Places, curated by Sanya Kantarovsky and Scott Portnoy, Modern Art Helmet Row, exhibition view, 10 October - 17 December 2021. © The Estate of Karlo Kacharava. Courtesy: The Estate of Karlo Kacharava, Tbilisi, Georgia and Modern Art, London. Photo: Tom Carter.

LONDON.- Modern Art opened its first exhibition of Karlo Kacharava’s work, curated by Sanya Kantarovsky and Scott Portnoy.

Karlo Kacharava’s (1964−1994) short-lived yet oceanic body of work took shape in Tbilisi, Georgia against the backdrop of the loosening cultural boundaries afforded by the Glasnost-era Soviet Union of the 1980’s and the subsequent financial and political groundlessness of the post-Soviet 1990’s.

His prolific output of drawing, painting, poetry and art criticism galvanized an orbit of young Georgian artists and thinkers, and continues to exert notable influence on emerging Georgian art in the present day. His inventive visual world frequently reflects an almost adolescent angst, punctuated by a fandom of a broad gamut of western culture ranging from the likes of Nick Cave and Susan Sontag to comic books and cinema. Yet there is something more specific to the project than fanning out. It’s as though the work — by reconstituting names and references for their glyphic, pictorial dimension — brings into sharp relief a nexus of desire, access, power and ownership. There is an articulated dissonance between the need to establish a ground of one’s own whilst acknowledging an anxiety of influence from a slowly leaking, sprawling, forbidden and exotic word centred on individual expression and self-actualization.

The exhibition embraces a simultaneity of ensuing melancholy, curiosity and joy that runs a current throughout Kacharava’s beautifully painted surfaces, images and varied techniques. Themes of childhood, memory, history and love permeate images of vagabond couples, explorers, anarchists, philosophers, greyhound buses, sleeping friends, film heroines and teenagers.

Nearly 30 years after Kacharava’s tragic death at the age of 30 from a sudden brain aneurysm, his vision of expanding the boundaries of his discursive world and its audience is being realized. This exhibition marks the first comprehensive presentation of his work outside of Georgia, effectively serving as an introduction of his oeuvre to an expanded international audience.

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