The iconic works of Georgian painter Avto Varazi feature in an exhibition this month at the Alexander Chavchavadze House-Museum in Tsinandali. The exhibition entitled “…where spirituality and emotion reside”, which opened on 12 November and runs to 10 December, celebrates the life and work of an artist who shaped the history of Georgian fine art and whose impact continues to be felt today.
Varazi was a pioneer of artistic non-conformism in Georgia during the 1960s and 70s. His unique and deeply emotive compositions are instantly recognisable for their peculiar vision exploring the solitude of human existence. Varazi is also noted for his still-life work and experimental use of collage.
Fiercely independent, Varazi defied convention and subverted the artistic orthodoxies of the Soviet era. His commitment to creative freedom left him largely marginalised by the Soviet regime. As a result, his work never appeared in official exhibitions and he was never given a studio by Soviet authorities.
“We’re honoured to have the opportunity to display the work of the great Avto Varazi here in Tsinandali. Varazi may have evaded the confines of genre, but he is without doubt a giant of 20th century Georgian art and an inspiration to so many. It is fitting for this exhibition to take place in the former home of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, who like Varazi did so much to support the development of Georgian art and culture,” said museum curator – Tatia Gvineria at the opening of the exhibition.
The opening of the exhibition was attended by leading figures in Georgian and international culture. On 12 November, Tsinandali Estate and winery was also proud to welcome a visit from James Thiérrée, the internationally renowned Swiss-born performer and grandson of Charlie Chaplin. Thiérrée, who is himself celebrated for his convention-breaking theatrical performances, was visiting Georgia for the Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre.
The ancestral home of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, Tsinandali Estate has been restored to its former glory under the patronage of Silk Road Group since 2007.
Hosting exhibitions, concerts and visits by leading Georgian and international artists is in keeping with the vision of Silk Road Group’s Founder and Chairman, George Ramishvili, to re-establish the Estate’s historical position as an artistic and cultural hub for Georgia and the wider region. Since 2019, the Estate has hosted an annual classical music festival, Tsinandali Festival, featuring performances by leading Georgian and international artists.
Avto Varazi was born in Tbilisi in 1926. A painter from a young age, he studied architecture at the Georgian Technical University and in 1948 enrolled in a doctorate at the Institute of Art History in Tbilisi. For years, Varazi worked as a museum and gallery curator before arranging the first exhibition of his own work in 1971. His works are preserved in the New York Museum of Modern Art, in the Non-Conformist Art Collection of the Zimmerli Art Museum (USA), as well as in museums in France and Greece and in private collections. Avto Varazi died in 1977, at the age of 50.
The exhibition “…where spirituality and emotion reside” runs until 10th December at the Alexander Chavchavadze House-Museum in Tsinandali.