From Irina Gabiani’s exhibition’s catalogue “Unrolling the Universe”

Text by:

Lela Tsitsuashvili

PhD Art History, Prof.

Georgian National Museum

Head of Temporary Exhibitions Department

Irina Gabiani’s exhibition “Unrolling the universe” is a collection of works symbolically presented on open scrolls. The concept has been inspired by the infinity and diversity of the universe. Everything is intertwined in our surrounding universe as a chain of connections.

This major concept of Irina Gabiani’s art has formed in late 90’s and has been developing since then in various directions using versatile media techniques (installation, mixed-media, graphics, photography, video-art). Constant creative pursuit, aspiration towards novelties, wide range of technique gives her more inner and creative freedom for reflecting individuality of her own world. Irina Gabiani firmly believes that artists must do whatever excites their individuality; what one loves and is interested in. This is what grants every artist authenticity and uniqueness.

You won’t find solely visual effects dominating in Gabiani’s works. Behind the image there is always an intellectual, creative nature with deep philosophical perception of the world and with her very distinctive interpretation of it.

The concept of the exhibition is built upon associational ideas. Connection of macro and micro universes, contrasting versatility and similarity between the larger objects and microelements is expressed in all different forms. At one sight, you might see planets in there. Everyone and everything is an integral, organic part of the infinite chain of the universe. Absolutely fantastic resemblance between infinitely larger celestial bodies and extremely tiny particles give you a food for thought; it opens your eyes for fantasizing and evokes original perception. This process looks like an intimate process of observing clouds and stars up in the sky.

Celestial bodies, a city map, a street plan, a human brain, a human eye, a leaf skeleton, etc. encircled together in a single space often resemble to a particle but a detailed scrutiny reveals a whole new metamorphosis. A coral branch, for instance, transforms along its way into absolutely different forms, factures, scale, color and change into all new substance such as tree roots, rivers and human veins.

These works, created in mix media and open scrolls, depict Irina Gabiani’s unprecedented, authentic spiritual world and the life credo expressed with her artistic language and approach.

At the same show Gabiani has exposed her graphical works, that where made in the years 2014-15. Those series of works are corresponding thematically and conceptually to the series of scrolls.

Text by:

Mzekha Makharadze – Arts jurnalist 

Irina Gabiani as a visual artist has her very own manner of creating, which must be observed not only by sight, but by mind. Her two dimensional creations make it clear that her language of expression is extraordinarily individual and exquisite with formal, refined and distinctively structured outcomes, as well as with its conceptual point of view, which has been influenced by Eastern culture and philosophy… Further to the two dimensional works and graphics Irina Gabiani’s creative interests reflect in using various forms of media as she creates installations, sculptures, videos, performances and photos in equal intensity.

In all such preferred media the artist finds her inspiration in micro and macro universes with their complexity and diversity as she considers the humanity as a part of a unique system – a chain of numerous interlacing events. Based on this, Irina Gabiani works to associatively determine similarities between infinitely large bodies and infinitely small particles, physical laws and materials, seen and unseen occurrences – all as an integral part of the universe and the human being.  

Irina Gabiani’s personal exhibition “Unrolling the universe” at the Tbilisi Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts on the theme of celestial bodies presents her recently created group of works to be unrolled, similar to the old manuscript books, which bring to the audience a totally original, deep and free of stereotypes art. This body of works has its qualitative life, interestingly develops and can be decoded by the metaphysical laws…

Casting a glance at her international career, Irina Gabiani was named as the best foreign artist at Arte Laguna 3rd International Prize in Italy for her installation “A rose doesn’t come without thorns” and was awarded a special prize as the audience’s favourite artist. Gabiani’s video performance “The slaves of the system” has received a prize at 8th Novara Video Art International competition. The performance -based on “Khorumi” martial music- which can also be perceived as a political manifest, has successfully travelled to the Turin Festival – Video Dia Loghi, Edinburg International FestivalCologne Video Festival – Cologne OFF, Beijing Contemporary Art Fair and Fest i nova in Georgia.

Other festivals have hosted Gabiani’s another video-performance “Samaia or Triamazikamno”, which in hands of the conceptual artist has turned into a genuine mysticism with her own form and style of thinking. The artist has “painted” three emotional dimensions of the psychological conflict with melancholic, joyous and aggressive reflexes. After that Irina Gabiani received a prize at Cologne OFF 7th International Videoart Festival as the best short video artist and she had a personal show of her 8 videos at the Waterpieces, International Contemporary Art Festival at Noass Art Center, Riga, Latvia and in Beirut, Shams The Sunflower Theater, Lebanon. In 2011, she realized the video installation “Counting the Infinite” exclusively for the 54th Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale). At the Biennale main exhibition hall of Arsenale, getting to where is a subject of ambition, Irina Gabiani presented her own video installation “Counting the Infinite” made with conceptually slowed down shots as an effort of understanding human in infinity, where there exists no time, distance and space. 

Irina Gabiani’s video-art has extensively traveled the world with international video art projects. Just to mention the recent events, in 2015 her video “Part of the whole” was shown –within “Time is love” project- in San Diego, Tirana, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Paris and Yokohama. The same year was also remarkable for her personal exhibition in Turin at the Giampiero Biasutti Gallery and later in Paris at Sobering Gallery with her video screening and her live performances. In 2016 Gabiani showed her live-performances “Take off your veil” and “Slave of your own system” at Berlin Plateau Gallery and her video “Exquisite form” was on show in Berlin, Seydisfjordum, Villach, Paris and Hong Kong.

So, Irina Gabiani’s art is actively involved in the process of contemporary art. Her art is not bounded with concrete borders and formations. 

 Mzekha Makharadze