This is a Viola, it is a flower
18/09/21 – 11/11/21
The Why Not Gallery is glad to present artist Shalva Nikvashvili’s first solo show in Georgia ‘Ai Ia (this is a Viola), it is a Flower’.
‘ ‘Ai Ia (this is a Viola in Geo.) is a flower’ – that is the first sentence I learnt at school. I found it was the most beautiful sentence I had ever heard. Maybe I wished my life would be as beautiful as these words put together.
I dedicate this exhibition to my childhood memories; to the love and hatred for the country I was born at, that enrichened me, but at the same time destroyed me.’- We read in Shalva’s artist statement.
Shalva Nikvashvili, a fashion designer by education, works in various media, where costume and performativity in general, play a leading role. A mask, like a camouflage, to protect oneself, to immerse into one’s own traumas, to speak of the socio-political context in which one grew up.
The exhibition is so personal, it starts with the original of the artist’s birth certificate and is full of personal symbolism, which is further loaded with broader, cultural references. A kind of perverted love letter to the motherland, examines the main signifiers of traditional, masculine culture with equal aggression and love and turns its central symbolism upside down.
Shalva Nikvashvili, a fashion designer by profession, delivers an exhibition where costume, and general performativity play a leading role. A mask as a camouflage to protect oneself, to immerse oneself in one’s own traumas, to explore the darkest corners of one’s sexuality, to speak of the surrounding socio-political context, to shock and stun to provoke one to think.
Shalva Nikvashvili (born in 1990 in Sighnaghi) is a multimedia artist who mainly works around the notions of identity and memory, investigating the boundaries of beauty and manipulation. He studied at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Faculty of Design, and then went on to study Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp. Shalva’s works have been exhibited at various European galleries and museums, including the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin. His work has been covered in leading art publications such as ID magazine, Vice, Metal Magazine and others. In 2021 Shalva worked with Kirill Serebrennikov on the opera ‘Nos’ by D.Shostakovich, Bayerische Staatsoper, and created masks for the performance. Shalva Nikvashvili currently lives and works in Belgium.