Art from the Conceptual Tropics: Interview with Giorgi Qochiashvili

Text by Nini Darchia

Q: Giorgi, please tell me a few words about yourself.

A: I was born in Abkhazia in 1992. I was a year and a half when I became a refugee. After I started painting, I discovered that there must have been only a handful of us capable of returning to our birthplaces, at least spiritually. That is very important for me, because I was raised by my grandfather, a man madly in love with Abkhazia. As a child, I heard stories of the region’s enchanting tropical landscapes. A little later, all that has been reflected in my works. Those were the paintings from my first artistic period, and I still use this topic once in a while, though I haven’t stopped, I haven’t settled for the Abkhazian motif. On the contrary, I started painting what I believe is missing in the place where I live: colors, sex, and mental freedom, for example.

Q: What is the key influence on your works?

A: My sources of inspirationvary. Sometimes I visualize ideas after reading and taking in texts. It takes me 4-5 days of thinking to translate thought onto canvas. I spend a lot of time analyzing ideas, because I pay extra attention to the details. Technically, my style may look somewhat rough, because I am a self-taught artist, but the visual part, compositional distribution, takes pondering for a long time. Nonetheless, my works, for the most part, depict my life and my past. Too many painful experiences have welled up inside me and expressing all that through oil painting certainly attracts me.

Q: What is the concept behind your tropical themes (besides memories of Abkhazia)?

A: The tropics and black people make up a natural synthesis in a way. Firstly, I identify with those blacks whom I paint. I love freedom. It so happened in many cases that freedom was often taken away from my family, and there was also religious intimidation. Generally, I like black culture, authentic hallmarks, and hip-hop. This culture is deep-rooted in me: A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Basquiat, Tricky, Robert Glasper, Flying Lotus… Their great artistic freedom has had an enormous impact on me. Everything you have seen or heard, that is, all your experiences, is ultimately an eruption of emotions welled in your unconscious.

To me, tropical plants are refined in character, which I identify as a female figure. That is why I use palms as an aesthetic aspect. At the same time, I was born in the tropics, though, in reality, I have yet to see the tropics per se.

Q: What about the media or materials you plan to use in the future or are currently working with?

A: I have been into ceramics lately. In the course of the past 12 months, I’ve been contemplating and considering ways to use this material. I guess I have made up my mind about concrete figures, alongside oil painting, which I want to try in combination with ceramics. Basically, I’m into mixed media. I have experience working with iron and other metals. In 2020, I’m planning a solo exhibition, so that viewers may have a better understanding of my experiments with new materials. So the coming year is about this exhibition, and I really hope to hold two exhibitions, actually, which is why it is time for hard work, intensive preparations, and experiments.

Giorgi’s curator is Irena Popiashvili, whom you can find on Instagram @irenapopia

Instagram: qochiashvili.giorgi

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.