The Why Not Gallery is glad to present the first solo show of the artist Mariam Aqubardia
‘Sometimes Water Bursts out from dried up Fountains’.
The inspiration for the series presented comes from the Soviet sanatoriums, almost as a subject of an anthropological study, Foucaultian heterotopia, but at the same time emotionally very close and important for the artist. The structure of a sanatorium as a medical and recreational facility, is a 19th century Western concept and became particularly popular in the local context during the Soviet era. There were a number of impressive complexes in Soviet Georgia, especially in Abkhazia, which was considered to be an elite summer destination.
Sanatoriums and hotels built for the Soviet working men have taken on an entirely new dimension in the recent history, and particularly in relation to Abkhazia. Photographs of the ruins of these wellness palaces are most often used to portray and further exoticise Abkhazia as a seized treasure. At the same time, similar sanatoriums and hotels turned into shelters for the refugees who had to flee Abkhazia during 1990s. Gradually these temporary spaces have turned into their permanent residences after almost 30 years. Mariam’s paintings also play on this ambivalence and mutual exclusion – are the people depicted happy vacationers or internally displaced people trapped in temporality and uncertainty, who are forced to adapt to the harsh new realities and carve out life as normal as possible?!
How difficult it is to perceive time where the concept of “temporality” twists and morphs into eternity…Prolonged, annulled time, filled with anticipation, monotonous and tiring activities with a tinge of romantic sentiments for the protagonists… Pictures reminiscent of faded photographs – tropical landscapes depicted with palms and agaves, damp air and the sound of the sea heard through shells, holidays celebrated with sparkles and cakes, fireworks and lit up matches, seemingly beautiful moments that could be explosions…
Opening reception: 4 June, 18:00 Address: 150 Davit Agmashenebeli avenue Free attendance
Gallery works everyday except Mondays, 12-7pm