David Meskhi - Keep Falling; Nata Sopromadze - Death Shop
Project ArtBeat and TBC Status present two solo exhibitions by two prominent Georgian photographers.
David Meskhi - Keep Falling
‘The fascinating moment between leaping and falling is difficult to put into words. The brief feeling of weightlessness when the body reaches the highest point, pausing momentarily before reversing direction and gravity pulls it back towards the ground, except the last step never happens in my photography… The dusty cosmos on a gymnastic carpet makes it all blurry by magnesium powder.’
The increasing degree of abstraction observed in Meskhi ’s work makes it difficult for the viewer to locate the photographic motifs spatially, depriving the photographs of any documentary character. The use of this artifice lends Meskhi’s images a mystical, intangible quality. Like creatures from another world, the half-naked, well-trained bodies seem to plummet from the sky.
Meskhi ’s characteristic images in the exhibition are paired not only with photographs from his short time in the military training program but also with long-distance and close-up photographs of sun - and moonscapes, whose qualities and traits captivate the artist to a similar degree as human body movements. They basically continue subject of the bod, giving human celestial different meanings and qualities.
‘My first childhood images; sounds and feelings I start to collect in two places: first in small apartment of an old, beautiful town of Tbilisi , capital of soviet Georgia and sport school, where I used to go with my father all the time, where I grew up... My father was a gymnastics coach just like his Father. Most of our family albums looked like art books full of images collected from different sport competitions... everything around me was influenced by sports...
Life in the Soviet world was based on unity. No individuality, army-style equality and very conservative principles. At home, nobody spoke candidly about outspoken unconventional ideas and everything was pretty much levelled with the imposed ideology of our country in general. Except one thing: my family had a glimpse of a different, banned world — our coffee table was different from all other same looking coffee tables in all other same looking apartments...
Beside daily newspapers with boring photos of old people and happy factory workers, you could always find a figure of flying gymnast from sports competitions booklet, brought by my father from a faraway place, as well as issues of virtuously designed soviet photo magazines. These flying sportsmen were like super-powered heroes from another universe - the world outside the Soviet Union. Watching those booklets functioned as a key, like a door to magic places...’ - David Meskhi
David Meskhi is a photographer based in Berlin, Germany. He was born in 1979 in Tbilisi, Georgia. After gaining a Master’s Degree in Hydro ecology, Meskhi decided to change his profession entirely and turned to art. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Photo Journalism at Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film State University, Tbilisi, Georgia. Since 2004 Meskhi has been working as a photographer and photojournalist for several magazines, and his artworks have been exhibited in Georgia, Germany, France, Austria, Israel, Russia and the UK.
Selected solo and group exhibitions:
2018/19 - I DO SPEAK LANDSCAPE, Braunsfelder Family Collection, Cologne, Germany; 2018 - Lara protects me, Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; 2018 - Post-Soviet Visions, Calvert 22 Foundation, London, UK; 2017/18 - Golden Boundaries / Youth Culture in Contemporary Photography, Robert Capa; 2011 - IMAGO, Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig (GfZK), Leipzig, Germany; 2011 - Explications 1.2, Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Nata Sopromadze - Death Shop
In my photographs, which I have been taking for years, I discovered that the same images keep appearing: flowers on the graves, grey hair, pools of blood during mountain celebrations, fading plants, cemeteries, lifeless animals left on the roads… I saw the connection between them. Each photo speaks about death, without a human.
That’s how I started exploring death with the help of photography.
The reality depicted in the shots, despite its tragic nature, often creates beauty for me and this indefinable mysticism attracts me most of all in this unusual collection.
The process of collecting the death in this form has turned into one big mystery.
“Immortals” is a series of pictures printed on black granite the traditional way of making grave portraits in Georgia. I took photos of ordinary people dressed in the Georgian designer's clothes in the latest years and serve them as models in my art project. Georgian cemeteries inspired me to use this old fading tradition of grave portraits and convert it into fashion images. It was interesting how people reacted on my proposal to be a model for a gravestone. Everybody was happy so far. We were creating images. Just for fun. Just for playing with death. Or maybe it is defeating it.
Nata Sopromadze is a Tbilisi based Georgian photographer. After her graduation from the School of Documentary Photography - Sepia in 2007 she founded a photo studio called Bina and in 2009, together with her friends, she created a non-commercial, first Georgian online magazine Beat about photography and contemporary art, based in the same studio. In 2012 Beat continued its existence in a video format at the online TV station - Artarea. Since 2015 Nata Sopromadze has been the co-founder and a member of Georgian photo agency ERROR IMAGES.
Selected solo and group exhibitions:
2018 - Broken Sea, Tbilisi Photo Festival, Tbilisi, Georgia; 2018 - Elementary Particles: Epigraphs from Georgian Photography, Project ArtBeat Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia; 2018 - In and Out of Reality: Three Centuries of Photographic Image in Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia; 2017 - Secret Life, Tbilisi, Georgia; 2013 - Photo off, Paris, France; 2005 - MZIURI Art Festival, Tbilisi, Geo
Photo Credit: Guram Kapanadze