“Art is a Tribune for me” Rocko Iremashvili

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In his art works, be it painting, video or stainless steel, you can feel a magneticvsynthesis of social protest, sarcasm, vanity and compassion. Each of RockovIremashvili’s projects inspires you to be involved in a process of permanentvthinking. The artist is distinguished not only with his sharply expressed individualityvand unusual performances, but also with aspiration to experiment in visualvarts. For him, art is not an isolated sphere with didactic functions, but an organicvpart of daily life.

You spent several years in Stuttgart State Art Academy as a DAADvscholarship student, how do you remember your European experience?vDid it cause any changes in you?

After graduating the Art and Humanities Faculty of Tbilisi State University, I did not paint for some time. I had a diploma at 21, but no inner experience; neither a studio, nor professionalism. At that time I was interested in cloisonné enamel, iconography and also in other techniques. When I fi rst appeared in my class in Germany, my question was: what should I do? A response came back simply: ‘You should do what you want’ and I really appreciated that idea.

While in Germany, color was ‘washed out,’ painting clichés disappeared slowly and were displayed with a thematic thinking. I had my studio and could work on myself. There was a creative atmosphere in the academy and not only an educational process, which helps to open creativity in an artist. I remember once a Dusseldorf Art Academy professor told me that the main thing is to smell the art in the process of learning. It may sound banal, but it’s true – it is very important to experience and to be poisoned with that aroma, but you should become a part of this space without losing your individuality.

Do you smell it in Georgia?

Me and Sopo Cherkezishvili worked with master – degree students in 2010 – 2013 and we really tried our best to create this aroma. In spite of many gaps in the Georgian educational system, it is still possible to notice some promising ‘islands’.

I think that after graduating the Art Academy, a student should have a scholarship for a one-year rehabilitation period in order to survive as an artist. It is up to the government to take care of and promote talented artists.

You have implemented a number of interesting art projects, both in Germany and Georgia. Which exhibition was the most signifi cant for you this year?

It’s a real bonus for me to have a contractor gallery in Germany, promoting my exhibitions and catalogues. I’ve been in contact with that gallery since I was a student. 

I will highlight a large – scale exhibition in Hannover Modern Art Gallery held this year; it got very good press and was dedicated to modern variations of biblical themes.

My recent Georgian projects are connected with curator Nino Gujabidze and we have implemented a number of interesting projects since 2010.

Most of your works have a tragic shade – is it an echo of social themes that are often used in your art; or is just reflecting your inner condition?

Art is not an entertaining theme and is a result of serious thinking. I can say I’m not a tragic person, but I was brought up and live in this environment and, naturally, problems around me touch my soul. Art is a tribune for me, for expressing my protest or attitude.

Unfortunately, art is not taught in schools and lots of people in Georgia say that they don’t understand art at all… It’s important to talk about modern art with children and show them that art is not an isolated sphere, but an organic part of our daily live, just like cinematography or music.

 You use different material in your art…

I like to work with three dimensions. Clay is one of my favorites and while working in this material, I get the feeling that I’m closer to my origins and myself.

Now I’m working with stainless steel on a sculptor of Irakli Charkviani (iconic Georgian rock musician) together with sculptor Valo Imerlishvili. Not long ago my project Shalva Kikodze sculpture (Georgian expressionist painter) won a competition.

What is the main source of inspiration for you?

It could be a little detail or a global problem. A person lives in a local environment, but can’t escape global themes and there is a tiny bounder between micro and macro worlds. 

Is there a chance to see your exhibition this year?

I really want to make one personal show ‘Fatal Threads’. The main concept of the exhibition is what kind of threads can be experienced before birth, after birth and before the death of a person.

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