John Riepenhoff and Mamuka Japharidze - Kera
Gallery Artbeat is pleased to present 'Kera', a collaborative exhibition of John Riepenhoff and Mamuka Japharidze.
When chance finds you at an unknown crossroad you begin to hesitate. You do not know which direction to go. In such moment if you have adequate faculty of intuition and observation, cues from the environment can guide you to the right decision and lead to safety.
The condition of our contemporary world somehow seems to stand at this crossroad of being disoriented- as if you understand that it’s impossible to bring back life’s old familiarity nor can you clearly envision a stable future.
In search of alternative choices probably many ideas are elaborated in force majeure by mankind’s overheated mind, but as always cultural and artistic phenomenon comes forward in ‘avant-guard’ and tries in advance to show us ‘ephemeral’ abilities of transformation.
John Riepenhoff is an artist from Milwaukee, who has recently returned his gaze up to the sky. For a while he had established himself as a painter of the night sky, but similar to Ivan Aivazovsky who overcame banal cliché of being a just marine painter, he began to search for artistic observatories on earth in order to better see worlds beyond the sky.
Artist Mamuka Japharidze runs a residency in Shindisi village near to Tbilisi in Georgia. He often invites artists from Georgia and abroad to have creative collaborations. It is worth considering the context of this residency because Mamuka Japharidze’s art is situated in the phenomenon of place. Local climate, landscape features, elements of traditional life or history are some examples of materials which Japharidze uses to create environmentally friendly art. These products bear artistic value as well as practical functionalities such as nurturing food and drink.
Since Riepenhoff began to work at the residency his attention was drawn to the characteristic content of little details around the place. After helping with the rigorous process of crushing Chinuri grapes brought from the historical Samachablo region, which is located over the Russian occupied boarder-line, he quietly reflected on the details of the process while he doceumented the October night sky. This same silence necessary for the fermentation of Chinuri grapes was present in his minimal state for perception and processing.
In addition to winemaking, themes of Japharidze’s magnetic hearths influenced Riepenhoff’s creative process as well. As a result, Riepenhoff created six metaphorical portraits of Japaridze’s in small format paintings.
Theme of the sky or in other words John’s main subject of interest was perceived exactly through such ‘details’. Thus, ‘The Skies’ over Shindisi, Tbilisi or Kutaisi clearly gained characteristic accents of Chinuri or Shavkapito grape plants.
In parallel Japharidze was making preparations as well although in a different way. He was occupied mainly by activities of autumnal works, and the process of painting was handed over to external circumstances. The large scale wall work presented in this exhibition was formerly acted as a tabletop near to the tone wood-fired oven. The surface was built up over time with lime and cyanide paints covering the canvas, on which invisible traces of nature appeared day by day. Marks made by wind, rain, and sun were scattered all over the picture plain and like the depths of the sky revealed endless layers.
At the last stage of working process of American and Georgian painters, the artworks which have been created with an interaction with the nature of the countryside, gradually and harmoniously must transit to urban space and represent themselves in a gallery.
John Riepenhoff and Mamuka Japharidze’s artistic collaboration will take place in the Gallery Artbeat located in the old town of Tbilisi and traditionally will touch on topics of place and its adoption. At this time their work will concentrate on the elegant granite-stone fire-place of this historic gallery.
‘Kera’ (hearth) is a universal place for daily activities and religious rituals across the cultural spectra. In this exhibition it represents functional space of peculiar portal, transitory or so called liminal phenomenon, where artists do not present their art works in a dominant way, but rather let the external circumstances lead, trying neatly to reveal mystical traces of nature and their creative process to viewers. As a result of random occurrences, whenever you find yourself at an unknown crossroad you begin to hesitate. You do not know which direction to go. In such moment if you have adequate faculty of intuition and observation, environment itself can guide you to the right decision and lead to a safe place.
John Riepenhoff is an artist from Milwaukee where he runs The Green Gallery, administers the Open Fund, and founded the Beer Endowment. He is a regular food ideator, art advisor, and advocate for artists.
John Riepenhoff was born and resides in Milwaukee where founded The Green Gallery. Riepenhoff engineers art to serve as connective tissue between cultural entities. He established the Beer Endowment in 2014 to support and advocate for artist-run-organizations. He pays homage to other artists, creating renditions of their work or uses his own to platform others, to acknowledge the influence of community and collaboration in the process of making. He also ideated Double Cream Colby Cheese, started Milwaukee International Art Fair, administers The Open Fund, and paints the night sky in the dark.
Mamuka Japharidze (born in 1962, in Tbilisi) lives and works in Tbilisi and UK. The medium of his works changes according to the context and environment and includes: happenings, collections of objects and images, video projections, photography, linguistic games, drawings, sound design, prints, photo archives collected over a long period of time…
Since 1987, Mamuka Japharidze has been working on conceptual projects. ARTRA was presented at the Georgian Pavilion, the 48th Venice Biennale, 1999. In the same year a video projection, Eye Trees was presented in Atlanta. The artist’s works were exhibited at Georgian National Museum several times, including Reframing the 80s in 2012 and Re:Museum in 2014. With the works by other Georgian artists, Mamuka Japharidze’s installation was featured at the exhibition Beyond Credit at Art in General, in New York.