Enema with Vitamins of Talent: Gudiashvili’s Unknown Satirical Drawings

The Lado Gudiashvili Fund Exhibition Hall is hosting the fourth and last exhibition “1+70 Unknown” dedicated to his 120th anniversary.

With the support of the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and Tbilisi Municipality City Hall, art lovers have had a wonderful chance to witness four indelible expositions. This very exhibition is distinguished by a series of completely unknown graphic works from private collections.

“The artistic images of graphic series and situations, by means of the painter’s rich fantasy, embody the fallacious sides of his strict reality, such as falseness, foolishness, vanity, pseudo-erudition, wickedness, violence, greediness; all those that were spreading fear and killing love and frankness between people,” writes Irina Arsenishvili, art-historian. “We can say that none of the historical documents of those times have such a strong influence as the visual expressions of Lado Gudiashvili.

The whole second floor is dedicated to graphic works saturated with allegory and satire which show how crucial those days were and how beauty, peace and kindness was threatened. One of them is ‘Enema with Vitamins of Talent,’ another the almost identical portraits of a lion and a man, making it dubious which one is the wilder.

“I like to paint beautiful people,” Gudiashvili, one of the founders of Georgian modern art, once said. It is impossible not to agree when ascending to the third floor and seeing his unbelievable, totally captivating paintings: famous ‘In Cafe Rotonda,’ ‘Neli Oneli,’ so incredibly transparent and subtle, ‘Picasso and his Model,’ ‘Beauties’ and more.

In 1919, together with Davit Kakabadze and Shalva Kikodze, Gudiashvili was sent to Paris as a result of special selection where famous female painters Elene Akhvlediani and Ketevan Maghalashvili lived. Gudiashvili began studying in the Free Academy and attended lectures at the Academy of Fine Arts, participating in exhibitions in Paris, Rome, Venice, India, Brussels, and Amsterdam. In 1922, Lado Gudiashvili’s first solo exposition was arranged at La Licorne Gallery of Paris. Andre Salmon, famous French art critic, said: “Gudiashvili admits as his vocation to be first and foremost, an artist. However, you know well what it means after Delacroix, Courbet, Cezanne and Seurat. Thanks to his own mysterious nature and racial instincts, he splendidly well managed to stay a poet, for which he will always be loved. I cannot compare him to anybody else… Maybe, Gudiashvili is the forefather of the art that the young nation that was oppressed in the past should create tomorrow… I believe that my adolescent painter from Tbilisi has a sparkling future in store.”

In the same year, the monograph of the well-known art critic Maurice Raynal was published in France under the title ‘Lado Gudiashvili’. It read: “Lado Gudiashvili’s exposition for us became a discovery which represented an extremely original painter. He thinks in such a complicated, or maybe, in such a simple way as his compatriots who are the descendants of an ancient civilization. Even in the tempting diversity of Parisian taste, he has managed to fully maintain his national characteristics, has stayed a pure Georgian even after he has seen and learned the expressive modes of the world-acclaimed painters.”

Lado Gudiashvili was a real aesthete, liked to be dressed neatly and he always wore a scarf. He fell in love with Nino, an extremely educated woman from Guria region, who worked in Tbilisi. After some years, a friend of hers reminded Nino: “Do you remember what you said when we attended Gudiashvili’s exposition for the first time? You told us: ‘Oh, how I wish I could live in the house where such paintings are displayed and poets read verses.’” How could Nino imagine then that after many years, this almost unreal wish would come true? They had one only daughter whos own daughter now heads the Lado Gudiashvili fund.

Lado Gudiashvili was the very painter who in that totalitarian regime decorated Kashueti Church with Saint Mary, Baby Christ, the Apostles and Archangel Gabriel. His national taste is very well felt here – Saint Mary resembles a Georgian woman in all aspects. The masterpiece performed in captivating colors, was restored and reborn in 2014, so, everyone can see it now in its full splendor.

This unique exposition of our great master will last for several months.

Where: Lado Gudiashvili Street 11, near Kashueti Church

Maka Lomadze

15 December 2016 18:46