- Irakli Parjiani
- Metaphysical Landscape
- signed and dated 89
- oil on canvas
- 157.5 by 230cm.; 62 by 90 1/2 in.
Baia Gallery, Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Vacha Gallery, Irakli Parjiani, 1994
Rome, St. Gregory's University, Irakli Parjiani: Arte Sacra Contemporanea della Georgia, 1998
Tbilisi, National Gallery, Irakli Parjiani: Berlin Cycle, 2000
Tbilisi, New Gallery, Irakli Parjiani: Berlin Cycle, Odyssey, Children’s Bible, 2011
Asmat Pitskelauri-Parjiani, Ed., Irakli Parjiani: Painting, Graphics, Illustration, Tbilisi 2009, p. 427, illustrated in colour
Baia Tsikoridze, Ed., Irakli Parjiani: Paintings, Graphics, Tbilisi 2011, pl. 4
Irakli Parjiani is a pivotal figure in Georgian art. He belonged to a generation of artists who revived Georgian easel painting and whose fierce opposition to Soviet ideology and censorship rekindled an interest in religion, aristocratic heritage and national identity. One of the great inspirations for these artists and Parjiani in particular was the tradition of Georgian fresco painting. Born in Mestia, a mountainous region of Georgia that is famous for its distinctive style of religious art, the artist was a descendant of the medieval Latali Parjiani fresco painters. Arguably the artist's signature painting style comes in part from this deeply embedded genetic knowledge. In 1978 Parjiani joined the Tbilisi Anthroposophist Circle and was greatly influenced by its prevalent concepts. Encouraged to investigate the spiritual world, the artist explored religious motifs, often returning to the same subject matter: ‘Sometimes I think I am through with the theme of Annunciation, but the more variations I paint, the more ideas crop up and it has become an endless, inexhaustible theme in my work.
Concentrating on one subject for its profound conceptualization and perception is by far more important to me than a rapid progression and variety.” Parjiani rethinks and reinvents Christian iconography and therefore assigns it a place in contemporary art. In employing the Christian colour symbolism, the artist approaches colour philosophically. White plays a particular role in Parjiani’s oeuvre; he uses it to portray a range of emotions. White epitomises chastity and purity, but also holiness and divinity, which in traditional fresco painting is signified by gold.
Parjiani moved to Berlin in 1989, where he worked for a year. What later became known as the Berlin Cycle was completed a year before his death. It has come to exemplify the final stage of Parjiani’s career and is arguably the culmination of his oeuvre, encapsulating his comprehension, persecitve and experiences of the world. Characteristically, the cycle revolves around religious themes, landscapes and abstractions. By this time, Parjiani had already painted a series of portraits and flowers, illustrated the Gospel, Goethe’s Faust, Homer's Odyssey and Galaktion Tabidze’s poetry as well as various Georgian and German myths and fairy tales. The Metaphysical Landscape ties into the overall feel of the cycle; it is hard to decipher the composition, the objects seem to be reflected in water with their weight and physicality removed. The canvas emanates the majestic calmness of a snowy landscape and of a taintless soul. This is the mysterious serenity of being; everything has grown torpid while waiting for resurrection.
"I have a feeling that painting is far more straightforward than we imagine." Irakli Parjiani