Levan Lagidze bio
(b. 1958, Tbilisi, Georgia)
Levan Lagidze is one of Georgia's most significant living artists. Widely exhibited internationally, Lagidze’s abstracted and philosophical works are collected by leading museums worldwide, including The Tretyakov Gallery and Museum of Modern Art in Moscow, the National Picture Gallery in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Zimmerli Museum in the U.S.
In October 2018 the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts in Tbilisi opened a new building with a hall dedicated to the artist’s work.
Born in 1958 in Tbilisi, Georgia (then part of the Soviet Union), Lagidze graduated from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 1981. He founded and led an artist’s studio at the Tbilisi Artists’ House in 1983 and served as Chairman of Georgia´s Young Artists’ Union from 1986 to 1989. In the early 1990s he supported struggling Georgian artists in the economically turbulent and violent decade following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In the calmer times of 2011, he founded the Lagidze gallery in Tbilisi to showcase his own works.
Creating a composition is like “measuring eternity with careful steps”
Lagidze’s art escapes definition except through a metaphor. He says that creating a composition is like “measuring eternity with careful steps”, where a blank canvas demands and promises complete immersion into the subject matter. In this state, concepts such as distance and time dissolve into an all encompassing here and now.
As Nana Jorjadze, the Georgian film director, scriptwriter and actress very aptly wrote, “Inside every square of Levan Lagidze's work is a separate universe. His world, his art, is a great galaxy. Perceiving his paintings depends upon distance: from afar, one sees a large canvas, but as one moves ever closer one's approach seems endless and one discovers ever more numerous and increasingly minute universes within.”
“Inside every square of Levan Lagidze's work is a separate universe”
And yet Lagidze’s abstract works are not at all abstract. The combination of colours and title paints a vivid emotional image. Our eyes might not immediately recognise it but our soul does. If there is such a thing, his paintings are a hyperrealism for the soul. You need only look at “Coming Back”, “Spring. After the Rain” or “Autumn Garden” to be transported to a specific time and place in memory.
For Lagidze, “there is no contemporary or not contemporary art. All artists that have ever immersed themselves in the language of art are in the present”. His art aims to share a common experience; to unite rather than disrupt or shock.
Bach Exercises (19 November – 8 December 2018, London), is the first major selling exhibition abroad that Lagidze has agreed to do in 20 years because, besides museum exhibitions, he is known for showing only at his own gallery in Tbilisi. The title, Bach Exercises, reflects the paintings’ cadence, where the myriad of tiny universes built up along a grid intermingle in a symphony of rich chromatic notes, creating universal images and narrations through abstraction.
Lagidze’s works are collected by museums in Georgia, Russia, and the United States, including:
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia;
The Modern Art Museum, Moscow, Russia;
The National Picture Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia;
The Batumi State Gallery, Batumi, Georgia;
The Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, NJ, United States
The Gertsev Gallery, Moscow, Russia;
The "TMS" Art Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
Levan Lagidze’s works are in private collections in Georgia, Russia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Canada, and the United States.
Present-2011 – Lagidze Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
2016 – National Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
2012 – Modern Art Museum, Kuwait City
2011 – Opening of Lagidze Gallery (Levan Lagidze’s private gallery), Tbilisi, Georgia
2010 – Exhibition Hall of Europe House, Tbilisi, Georgia
2007-10 - Chardin Art Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
2004-6, 1998, 1995 – TMS Art Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
1994 – Central House of Artists, presented by Gertsev Gallery, Moscow, Russia
1990 – Georgian Centre of Culture Mziuri, Moscow, Russia
1989 – House of Artists, Tbilisi, Georgia
2009 – Oc-Eo Art – Contemporary and Modern Fine Art, London, UK
2008 – The Alla Bulyanskaya Gallery, London, UK
2004 – Silent Auction to benefit the American Friends of Georgia – Doyle, New York, USA
1998 – ART SALON’98, Moscow, Russia
1997 – “Going Back”, TMS Art Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
1996 – Galerie Seidel am Domhof, Cologne, Germany
1994 – “The Bigining”. CA Global AC, Vienna, Austria
1994 – Georgian Art, Steiner Haus, Bonn, Germany
1993 – Georgian Art, Riviera Gallery, London, UK
1990 – Georgian School - Drouot Auction, Paris, France
1986 – Retrospective of Georgian Art, Central House of Artists, Moscow, Russia