Despite the fact that Andria Dolidze’s debut exhibition was held just two months ago, he already is a quite well-known young artist – especially within his generation. On December 14, Artarea space hosted his first exhibition entitled as “On the Rope”. Curated by Nestan Abdushelishvili, the event was open for the week. Andria’s works speak laconically and have a simple language. However behind the plain structures, you can always feel a complex intuitive process, a very careful, exquisite journey between the impulses and expression. As if the artist was constantly in search of a balance, really taking a walk on the rope, continuously striking for equilibrium. A nuance, represented by the coordinated process and content, expressed with risky steps. Andria Dolidze stands in the beginning of his professional journey, and this title could very well be symbolic for him, which is why we have decided to name this interview as above, “On the Rope”.
– Can we count this exhibition as a debut?
– Its first, if we look at it in classical terms. However there were other exhibitions I took part in before this. There was a space called “Academia Plus” on Shardeni St. for example – a little gallery. There was a cycle of exhibitions where several students took part. One by one we took a full day for us. I only exhibited one of my works there. I often used to do this; I liked taking part in group exhibitions more than representing my own entirely. I guess this happened because I was quite shy, not ready for something bigger yet. I also did not have as many works to show. But I absorbed little spaces fully and got maximum of the conditions offered. I am completely satisfied with my previous experiences. But as for personal exhibition – I think it’s something different, more loaded with content and somehow, more organized. I can’t say I was fully ready to this last exhibition, I guess I would not do it for the long time if it wasn’t Artarea which contacted me with an offer. The exhibition was planned out in two months, and majority of the works were created especially for this event.
– In what sense were the works compiled? Do they have one conceptual line; is it a sort of cycle that you have presented?
– The space offers an additional narrative as usual. It does affect you whether or not you plan on it. I had cases where the gallery space has inspired me for specific kind of work. I did not do it this time and it was intentional, the only thing I chose was the slight minimalism: I didn’t present much of works. Eight canvases in one room, and in installations in other two. I could not think of a better way to occupy this exact space. A text was more important for me in past, nowadays I don’t work this way. Maybe it will reappear I don’t know. The previous exhibition was called”Dialogue” and it gave you the ability to freely analyze it verbally, to outline the concept and basic orientation. Here, I did not even think about it, I just followed my inner preferences and inspirations. This of course does not mean that the set ended up being chaotic. I think it was quite complete and managed to express my key moments efficiently.
The text indeed does seem important today and this does affect me. General tendencies will always leave a trace, but I try my best to ignore these. This is my current state and I do like it. I don’t have any conceptual must do-s for me and I follow my intuition, it is quite pleasing to work this way and I work on myself to keep this inner condition. I think it will give me the opportunity to stay as real as I can. This is what I always try to achieve – to be real. If the fake notes will appear, it will lose its significance, with text, or without. There are of course moments where the work itself demands the text and you cannot avoid it. When I speak of text I mean a general narrative of course, not the written text itself.
– Can you tell us about your life before this exhibition? What was your creative journey like from the beginning until now?
– I remember painting from the point I remember myself at all. I can’t say I painted brilliantly, nothing significant. My brother painted better than me when we were little. I just did it because I liked it – like any child I guess. It slowly became the main activity in my life and my family supported me a lot as well.
I studied in Nikoladze school and worked on my technique. It wasn’t the time of big artistic changes; we just learned the history and gathered informational knowledge. Thinking about it now, I wish I had more sources of inspiration there. Before applying to the faculty of art in Academy of Tbilisi, I had no idea about art at all, the nature and function of it, nobody taught us about it. Academy today does indeed lack artistic freedom but I can say that my key skills were developed there. I met people who gave me the opportunity to develop my own perception. I opened myself to different challenges and had conversations after which I could come home, think about new ideas and challenge myself to work. They gave me a “necessary confusion” so to speak, and I was forced to find my own way, arouse my inner movements on my own. It is very important for an artist to find himself in the comfortable place to develop professionally. I think I was lucky. I met a lot of competent people. The longest professional and educational relationship I had was with Oleg Timchenko. Oleg always tried to destroy the paradigms and motivate us to critically approach the fixed rules. These are the approaches that had enormous share in my development. I think you always have to stay in that constant act of research, instead of keeping up to anything. This is most important and it is what I wish for myself in the first place. You have to risk. It is the key trait of an artist.
– What do your works offer to a person that does not understand the language of art fully? How will they perceive it or do your works need a preliminary background to be received?
– Before I speak of my works, I do think we need to mention that in general, understanding contemporary art does need a theoretic base. Definitely, a viewer is skeptical at first and comes with a feeling that you need to offer him something. He/She has some expectations and you greet them with a kind of piece that is difficult to reflect on, unless some symbols cannot be read – it is a historical language of art and a primary channel of connection. I’d say my work contains both kinds of pieces, the ones that need a certain knowledge and the ones that has impressed people that have no connection to art whatsoever. I don’t think my work can be categorized this way. Usually, I am afraid of questions that require me to describe my paintings. I could more easily talk about what they should be, not what they are. I guess program minimum will be the case where a dilettante will be left with questions? I don’t know. In any case, I know I do not want my works to be concentrated only on aesthetic pleasure, and I don’t want to be satisfied with that kind of feedback as well.
There was a time when this confused me a bit. I did not know what direction to choose and whether I had to choose it at all. I guess this was caused by different advices by various people. Their impressions used to confuse me. Guram Tsibakhashvili gave a good advice when I asked him to help me with the problem. He told me that I would remain interesting and real only if I just follow myself and do as I want. Even if the outcome will seem banal. I realized that I should take risky steps regardless of the tastes and wishes of a viewer; I have also understood that this was how I always worked too. So now I would say that of course, the impressions are important, but no external impression should be an imperative, you should never modify your work under anyone’s preference.
– Are there any other demands you have for yourself?
– I have a lot of challenges for myself. There are for example artists that create with only one rule, be it a manifesto or any other niche. This I think would limit my possibilities and leave a viewer with no room for interpretation. So here, I also try not to have any niche for future. Be it technically or form wise, I can never be satisfied with one direction. Well, If someday I will find something universal like Rothko, that’s another case. For now I don’t think I would like it, I don’t think I am able to do it at all.
If we consider that you work in a cultural space where there are not many viewers in general, especially not much understand contemporary art either. Do you think staying “real” would be a kind of luxury? Do you think there’s a risk of being misunderstood?
– This is quite complicated. Very small community is interested in art, especially in visual art. People do not visit galleries that often – they don’t have the time to do it. Either there is no interest. In the current economic condition no one really affords to go and visit galleries, people just don’t have the nerve for it and therefore there is no perspective for “art market” here, at least for another ten years. The viewers are more or less the same people. It is quite usefull on the other hand, the exchange happens much quicker in the small society and people are less formal with their expressions so the creative process is more fast and alive. But the results and changes aren’t big. I guess it has to do with the art policy today, not only the artistic activity. There are millions of problems and people don’t have time to dig deep in some guy’s inspirations. But it is interesting how different people react to my works. This is why I like street art and love what Banksy does for example. Any worker from London can identify with something of the wall and create a conversation. But it is also very important to receive a professional feedback, from people who ‘s points you respect. Of course I would like to influence both, but I cannot concentrate on this during the work process.
– Language wise, in what direction you see yourself developing? What forms do you choose and what kind of audience do you think of first when you finish the piece?
– I really don’t think artist should think about it at all. Of course you have to consider the spectator if you want to be a contemporary artist. I don’t say you should not care about the people. But there are certain moments when you have to manifest your own rules. My language changes very rapidly, I never stayed on one point for long and I don’t think you have to adopt any direction. But balancing is important: between you – as your real self and what you offer. And then the right eye will always find you – I believe in this. This is the final answer I always find for my questions: that real impulses will always find their way. I hope I am not fooling myself. And Style is not important, be it ultra conceptual, or naïve, it will adopt its own form. I hope I will not seem banal if I say that you have to follow your heart in this. As for the first audience, Keta is the one who sees my works first. She is my first critic and gives me advices I frequently follow.
– Do you have any special inspiration sources? The motives and subjects which you find repeating? Something significantly yours, what you will always reflect on?
No, I don’t have anything of a fixed nature in my work. It could be anything in the world. I guess Keta would definitely be the one. I receive so much out of one conversation with her. And there’s another thing – Google. It’s the ocean of ideas, I can dive whenever I want and come out with a pearl in my hand. It doesn’t even have to be art, but you can always find yourself inspired. All Eras have they’re inspirations. I guess Google is ours.
– Do hi – tech aesthetics bug you? How is it for someone who uses canvas and oil? In General, how satisfied you are with expressing yourself by painting? Ever thought of trying something else?
– I try not have romanticized perception regarding anything, including this. I don’t think it should be especially mentioned, nor ignored. I use it to the point where I need to be relevant to modern times. But I don’t think it gets in the way of what I am doing. The western world today gives us a great example of this. Painting is still being adequate and a timely language. I don’t think this will change. There were of course mere moments where something else was brought forward, but painting never lost its importance. Canvas and oil is as important today as Damien Hirst’s “Shark”.
– What kind of attitude do you have towards commercialization in general and what does “Successful Artist” mean to you?
– I won’t manage to be a hero now and say that I am not interested in selling my work and my only happiness will be when my art will hit someone on the “gut level.” Of course this last thing remains as a primary reason for what I do. But at some point you need to live from your work. I think commercialization is ok if you won’t allow interfering within your creative process and it won’t make you lose your individuality. I understand it is very difficult of a balance: you become dependent on your curator, and the demands of publicity. But sometimes it can give you some new inspirations as well. It’s not a black and white case, like “The artists who become brands lose their souls”. I know a lot of them who are very successful and still continue to amaze, so I am not afraid of this. Of course I am interested in international market. I don’t understand why would any artist prefer to be seen by twenty people when it can be thousands of them. But this field is far too unpredictable to have this conversation. I don’t even know where I will be in a year from now.
– Are you actively involved in local artistic happenings?
– Of course, I am always very interested in what is done. Any artist can inspire you, even the one you don’t necessarily like. Even if you see something you don’t like, you process it differently and so on…I try to be actively involved. But often there are times when I don’t even leave my house for weeks.
Author: Elene Pasuri