PRINT April 2013

Levan Chogoshvili

Levan Chogoshvili, Untitled, 1977, watercolor on wallpaper, 18 1/2 x 22 3/8". From the series “Destroyed Aristocracy,” 1970–86.


INTELLECTUAL INVENTIVENESS is measured by the ability to forget, not the ability to remember. The history of creativity has been built on inaccuracy, wrongfulness, and distortion; the more misled the apprentice is, the more incorrectly he understands his master’s art, the greater chance he has to make a contribution. In the same way, fruition relies on deviance; it is the mutated DNA codes that manifest their distinct features in the living cell.

The permanent stress of living entails these inaccuracies and mistakes, without which innovation could not happen. As with the laws of thermo­dynamics and bioenergetics, it is within this system of constant pressure that we obtain the potential for work, or what Josiah Willard Gibbs defined as free energy.

My painting-from-photography series “Destroyed Aristocracy,” 1970–86 (which was banned in Soviet times and which I consider my first work as an artist), did not arise from a fascination with the tragic events of the beginning of the twentieth century, but rather from an effort to generate a new artistic form via an interpretation of those convoluted historical occurrences. The artist is so often the supporter of humiliated and insulted subjects, and in my country that is what the aristocracy became. I turned this paradoxical experience into the central concept for my work.

What is Georgian art today? Like the bad apprentice, it offers an inaccurate, wrong, and distorted interpretation of Western art; it is like a damaged molecule in repair, given the chance to breed novelty.

Levan Chogoshvili is an artist based in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Translated from Georgian by Nino Shengelaia.