Tag Archives: Salome Vakhania

Project ArtBeat at START Art Fair in London

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The second edition of START Art Fair was held at Saatchi Gallery 10-13 September, 2015. Project ArtBeat has been presented from Tbilisi at START this year.

Project ArtBeat presented artworks by Tato Akhalkatsishvili, Maka Batiashvili, Irakli Bugiani and Sopho Chkhikvadze at art fair. They attracted rather big attention of society and press.

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Exposition Fragmented united the artworks under the theme: what constitutes the memory in fragments and how the fragments compose an alternative memory of the possible. Born in Georgia, the artists underwent the turbulent times of the post-Soviet condition.  The works they create are based upon different life experiences.

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I talked with Salome Vakhania about START Art Fair:

Mariam Loria – What distinguishes START Art Fair from others?

Salome Vakhania – The main purpose is to encourage young galleries and artists to emerge in the international contemporary art space. There are very close and friendly relationships between the founders and exhibitors of START. It facilitates cooperation. Working with them is real pleasure and it turns into collaboration.

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M.L. – Why is it important for Georgian Gallery to participate in START, London?

S.V. START Art Fair is held at Saatchi Gallery, one of the most important galleries in London. The gallery hosts thousands of visitors every day. Being presented in this exhibition space is a very important step in the carrier of Georgian artists. Project ArtBeat team are very happy that we became a part of this significant moment. Project ArtBeat team made friends with the founders of START David & Serenella Ciclitira and director of the fair Niru Ratnam. They are the supporters of our gallery. We really appreciate their sincere attention and advice.

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M.L. – Did your participation at the fair have any resonance from the press? Was any article about Project ArtBeat and your artists published?

S.L. – Maka Batiashvili, Irakli Bugiani and Sopho Chkhikvadze’s works presented by Project ArtBeat at Start Art Fair had a lot of visitors and received numerous compliments and positive feedback. Besides, such resonance from press was really important. Famous art critic Louisa Buck (a member of Turner Prize jury in 2005), who reviewed START Art Fair, mentioned Project ArtBeat very positively in The Art Newspaper. In the Artnet News article with the title 10 Great Reasons to Visit London’s START Art Fair Project ArtBeat Gallery was singled out as one of the reasons. Besides such positive feedback from international media Georgian press evaluation was really pleasant.

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Mariam Loria


Experimental exhibition space
Moving Gallery by Project ArtBeat

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Moving Gallery by Project ArtBeat and online gallery were established simultaneously. The presentation of the webpage (www.projectartbeat.com) and Moving Gallery was organized in Tbilisi, October, 2014. Moving Gallery is a so called shipping container made of iron. It stops in various locations for every new project. Artists have an opportunity to carry out innovative art projects created especially for this space. The interior of this container changes extremely according to every following exhibition. Three interesting projects have been represented at Moving Gallery since October, 2014. You can read more about these events on our blog.

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We have talked to co-founders of Project ArtBeat Natia Bukia, Salome Vakhkania and Natia Chkhartishvili about Moving Gallery.


Mariam Loria- How was the idea of Moving Gallery born?

Salome Vakhania– When it was decided to establish an online gallery, we started thinking of a psychical space. Our willingness was not to have a traditional room with white walls, we wanted something different. As an online gallery is available for everyone who has access to internet, we decided to bring the physical space of the gallery closer to people. So the idea of Moving Gallery was born. The Glass Tea House Mondrian by Hiroshi Sugimoto was the source of inspiration for this project and this idea was sophisticated with the support of architectural company Multiverse Architecture (MUA). As Project ArtBeat grew, the idea to use spaces which were not initially considered as galleries was born. We will be using one more interesting space as a gallery next year.

Natia Bukia– All the exhibitions and art movements arranged in Georgia are held mainly in the capital city. Accordingly, people living out of Tbilisi don’t have any access to contemporary art. As interaction with art was the significant part of our lives before opening the gallery, we wished to give this opportunity to as many people as it was possible. Therefore, the main purpose of the gallery was to be mobile and get closer to people. It is possible to transport the gallery and the exhibition represented there to different places.  The space of the container itself is very interesting for the artists. Here the site-specific expositions are created.

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M. L. – What is the purpose of the Moving Gallery? What kind of projects are being made in this space?

N. B. – The main goal of the Moving Gallery is to arrange the exhibitions of contemporary art and to bring them to those people who have no access to art. At the same time as I have already mentioned, the idea of the gallery is to organize the exhibitions in such places where contemporary art galleries and museums don’t function. In fact, Moving Gallery by Project ArtBeat doesn’t have commercial purposes.

S. V. – The list of projects are diverse. We have no limited criteria while selecting them. The main thing is the idea to be interesting. The container is a skeleton on which the artist together with the curator builds an exposition.


M. L. – How do you find artists whose works are exhibited in the container?

Natia Chkhartishvili: The container is open to the artists presented at our online gallery as well as to other interesting artists. Mostly, the selection of the artists and project ideas are carried out by the initiative of co-founders and curators of the gallery. Afterwards, we offer the artist to create a work particularly for our Moving Gallery. It often happens that we contact foreign artists, whose works are interesting for us and give them information about our gallery. Bringing foreign artists, cooperating with them and presenting their artworks are very interesting for us.


M. L. – What are your relations with the artist who are represented at the gallery?

N. B. – We try to have friendly relationship with our artists. In fact, we have formed family relations with the artists with whom we have been cooperating and participating in international art fairs very actively. We help each other in every matter. At the same time we highlight their activities and exhibitions on our blog and social media.

S. V. – Our aim is to help our artists in creative process. Our gallery doesn’t restrict them, the opposite we give them freedom to participate in other interesting projects.

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M.L. – Does Moving Gallery have permanent visitors? Who attends your exhibitions? Are these projects focused on a particular segment of audience?

N.B. – Art is for anyone. There is no demographic or geographic division and there shouldn’t be any. We oppose the statement that art should be accessible only for those people who are keen on these processes and understand a lot about art. On the contrary, we don’t want our exhibitions to be aimed only at the particular segment.


M. L. – What are your plans in the container? On what other events Project ArtBeat is working?

N. CH. – We are going to organize several projects for our container in Tbilisi as well as in other locations. At the moment we are keeping the details in secret.

The main part of our strategy is that we actively participate in International art fairs. Our goal is the popularization of Georgian contemporary art. From September to November we are going to take part in four art fairs such as: ArtInternational, Istanbul, Turkey, START Art Fair, London, Great Britain, YIA ART FAIR, Paris, France, Contemporary Istanbul, Turkey.

Also, in October, 2015, at Moving Gallery, we are planning an exhibition of an interesting artist David Meskhi living in Berlin, Germany. A new project by the Bouillon Group will be presented at Moving Gallery during 2nd TBILISI TRIENNIAL at the end of October.

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Photos by Sandro Sulaberidze and Nia Gvatua

Mariam Loria

September 2015