For some time now, GEORGIA TODAY has collaborated with BI Auction to present to our readers original Georgian artists. Bengü Akçardak Küçük, the co-founder of the organization, sums up the partnership for us in her own words:
“It’s a great pleasure to introduce more and more artists of Georgia through GEORGIA TODAY. Eight years ago, it was my dream to initiate the first Art Auction Company in Georgia to add value to the art scene with transparency. Five years ago, with GEORGIA TODAY, we began to spotlight some of Georgia’s talent and to tell the wider public about them. The dream came true with the great effort, dedication and support of some really good people. We started our series of interviews with legendary elderly artist Levan Tsutskiridze (95), and expanded the means with a special project for young artists, with ‘Corona Days’ interviews introducing very talented young artists. Now it is again time to learn more about the artists of Georgia,” says Bengü.
This month we meet painter Sofia Varazi. Having perfectly blended the influences of East and West in her works, Sofia has a unique art philosophy. She talks to us about how “the search phase is probably over,” her influences, her dislike of utopia-turned-dystopia digitalism, and more.
“I was born in 1969 and graduated from the I. Nikoladze Art School and Art Academy in Costume Painting. I’ve had six personal exhibitions in Tbilisi and have also worked as a film painter-artist. I’ve also done book illustrations. Many of my works are kept in private collections worldwide.
How would you describe your work? Which common movements in art or important artists themselves have had an impact on your work?
It is very difficult for me to describe my own works, and I believe that it is the prerogative of the viewer and art critics. All I can say is that I have no claim to seriousness, I lean more towards aesthetics and decorativism. I would add that over the years I have gone through this technique and developed a style that makes me feel comfortable, and now, I know exactly what I do. That is, the search phase is probably over. I have always liked the artists of the Art Nouveau period and, in general, the aesthetics of the time, and I can say for sure that it influences me continuously. I adore the great artists of the Renaissance era, and I believe that this is true art, imbued with spirituality. Some directions and movements and manifestations of contemporary art even cause skepticism and are unacceptable to me, but this is my subjective opinion. I generally believe that if a person has the desire to create something, it should only be welcomed as it will help them in further development and self-growth.
How has the coronavirus changed your creative vision, the art market in general, and your specific sales?
The coronavirus had absolutely no effect on me and my vision, and sales have only improved. I attribute this to the fact that people had more time to look for, perceive and enjoy art, and many had a desire to purchase a work of art that they had not had time for before. In addition, a new purchase in the form of a picture lightens the general heavy reality and has a good effect on the person’s mood – I have heard this many times from my buyers.
In light of the global pandemic and the shift of the world from real-life to digital, what is the future of art?
If the world becomes completely digital, art as we know it will no longer exist. It will be buried. Since the digital world has no spirituality, and art is unimaginable without spirituality.
What is your relationship with the virtual art space, exhibitions and sales?
I have a negative attitude towards exhibitions and other activities in the virtual space, because art should be perceived directly, and not from a monitor screen. In general, the “online” lifestyle is unacceptable to me.
What do you think about BI Auction and its role in artists’ careers, based on your experience?
I am grateful to BI Auction because we’ve had a very fruitful collaboration. It is a very good initiative and I wish there were more such initiatives, because, in general, artists find it difficult to present themselves, and there is nothing new in this. Specialists have to deal with this and the BI auctioneers are trying to help.
About BI Auction ‘for ART’: BI Auction is the first Art Auction Company of Georgia, established in 2016. The company’s aim is to promote Georgian art and artists and enlarge the market. In four years, BI Auction ‘for ART’ has organized eight auctions and presented more than 450 paintings from 125 Georgian painters. In every auction, the collection is selected from among a thousand paintings from the well-known legendary artists of Georgia and also from promising young artists. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Nini Dakhundaridze