Polyphony and Georgian Memory at the Europalia Biennale

Until January 14, 2024, Europalia Festival highlights Georgia with nine exhibitions and around fifty events in Belgium. Pozar opens the edition by revealing an unknown dimension of the avant-garde.

The rich heritage of Georgia, located in the South Caucasus and with a population of less than four million, has attracted the attention of the Europalia Biennale. The festival opens its new edition with the exhibition “The Vanguard in Georgia (1900-1936)” In Bozar. “For the first time outside Georgia, we are collecting forgotten works,” says artistic director Dirk Vermaelen. In 1918, the country’s declaration of independence led to artistic excitementWhich is vibrant between the walls of cafes in the capital, Tbilisi. There will be no such winds of freedom Just didn’t last long The Soviet occupation since 1921 will eliminate these artists with a tragic fate.

Drawing by Kirill Zdanevich
© Georgian State Museum of Theater, Music and Choreographic Arts Palace

With over 150 works – paintings, drawings, films, photographs, prints, fashion and theater projects -, The exhibition reveals another perspective on the avant-garde. It shows how Georgian artists, like the mysterious Niko PirosmaniIt had a huge influence on this era and continues to have an influence to this day. The visit ends with a Georgian video installation Megi Rustamova AdishviliHe arrived in Belgium when he was 8 years old. She recounts her relationship with the language she had forgotten, and uses her family history to question collective memory.

Zhigo Gabashvili, “Woman with Wings”, 1910
©sh. Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts

Contemporary echoes

“This is a new chapter in history and it is very important for us,” said one of the curators from Georgia, Nana Kipiani, emotionally during the opening ceremony. She hopes that the exhibition will help Georgia “be closer to Europe.”Although the country applied to join the European Union in 2022, the exhibition strongly resonates with current events since then. 20% of the territory is still militarily occupied by Russia.

The festival extends until January with a total of: Nine exhibitions and about fifty events. There are two red threads guiding this abundant programming: Polyphony and memory. Georgian polyphonic singing is a traditional and precious art, listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Europalia, through its polymorphism, wants to give voice to as many people as possible. The Biennale raises questions about the place of memory and memories when a country confronts a complex history.

The Bassiani Ensemble will concert in Belgium several times as part of the Georgian Europalia Biennale.

Contemporary Georgian art comes to SMAK in Ghent and M HKA in Antwerp. The first devotes a study to the painter and poet Carlo Cacharava; The second explores similarities in the painter’s practices Elaine Chantladze And designers Studio roomsIts headquarters are in Tbilisi. Dance, polyphonic singing and theatrical performances, inspired by Georgian traditions, will punctuate the festival, particularly at the Walloon-Brussels National Theater, Les Tanneurs Theater, and at the Concertgebouw Brugge. Halfway between East and West, Georgian art shines with its uniqueness and eclecticism.

“The Vanguard in Georgia (1900-1936)”

Until January 14, 2024


As part of Europalia Georgia. There are many events and exhibitions that you can discover throughout Belgium. read more

Note from L’Echo:

Subscribe to the L’Echo culture newsletter

Subscribe to our website Weekly newsletter And he finds All the culture you love at L’Echo: Unmissable events across all genres, told by 20 passionate and committed writers, and interviews with great witnesses who shed light on our times.

👉 Register now by clicking on this link

Hi, I’m laayouni2023