Khizanishvili balances between Georgian culture, which is so rich in traditions, and the conceptually driven contemporary discourse on representation and its functions. The fourteen works on view were all created in 2020 while the artist was living in Tbilisi, and can be thematically divided into two categories: works centred around sacral transformations, and those featuring theatrically staged interactions within rooms. These two themes are implicitly interconnected for the artist, as the human being and her identity are of central interest. Questions of self, connections to biology, cultural memory and myths, and the female body are all the subjects of an ongoing investigation for Khizanishvili, who shows maturity of purpose and mastery of colour.
Khizanishvili’s paintings go against the grain of constructed identity as expected from a post-Soviet artist. By creating a powerful and unique visual vocabulary, she remains only loosely connected to the preoccupations of post-colonialism, addressing them in more abstract terms, rather than aspects of mastery and subjugation. The roles and strength of women are recurring themes in her work, with her canvases featuring archetypal heroines, constantly transforming themselves. According to hereditary mathematics, every human being now alive has received the genetic information of more than 4,000 ancestors. We carry within ourselves such an immense amount of cellular information that our brain cannot possibly process it. In response, our bodies begin to develop and reinforce additional senses, creating new personas, animals, trees, oceans, and tsunamis. Although we might be physically stuck in rooms for now, within us we create brand new worlds, build aqueducts, bridges and highways, we travel far away and return from other dimensions.
The fantastical beings on view in this exhibition are all part of these inner domains, partially invisible, yet always present. Deeply influenced by the duality of mind and spirit expressed in medieval art, her paintings on view create a cathedral that has dynamic tension deriving from the artistic imagination. While some of the works possess a theatrical aspect that links them directly with German Expressionism through the emotional urgency of their communication, others relate more closely to Outsider Art, with its brusque directness and free-flowing narratives. The human can be both larger and smaller than oneself, both a subject and an object. At a time when digital machines are systematically taking over human functions, we as a species are seeking new forms of being, where simple gestures, the sense of touch, and the potential to relate and to hope are our essential traits not mediated by screens. Khizanishvili’s canvases are symbolic anthropologic blueprints for our new reality, for a brand-new world. Beings roam the rooms in these paintings, searching for their new meanings, just as we do.
Rusudan Khizanishvili (1979) lives and paints in Tbilisi, Georgia. She has received her two BFAs in Painting from J.Nikoladze Art School and from Tbilisi State Academy of Art. In 2004 Rusudan received her MA in Film Studies from Tbilisi State Academy of Art. Over the past fifteen years Khizanishvili has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions including Museum of Modern Art Tbilisi, Museum of Literature of Georgia, Tbilisi State Silk Museum, Mark Rothko Foundation, Daugavapils, Latvia, Galerie Am Roten Hof, Vienna, Austria, Arundel Contemporary, Arundel, UK, New Image Art Gallery, Santa Monica, USA; Kunstverein Villa Wessel Iserlohn, Germany; Norty Paris, Triumph Gallery, Moscow, Assembly Room, New York, USA, Window Project, Tbilisi. In 2015 Khizanishvili represented Georgia among five other artists at the 56th Venice Art Biennale. Her works are presented in the collection of the Georgian National Museum; private collection of Stefan Simchowitz, LA; Breus Foundation, Moscow.
Text by Nina Mdivani