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Nana Kipiani

Irakli Gamrekeli, set design for Friedrich Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers), 1933, pencil and watercolor on paper, 13 3/4 x 17 1/2".

Secluded behind their inaccessible languages, the small European nations (their life, their history, their culture) are very ill known; people think, naturally enough, that this is the principal handicap to international recognition of their art. But it is the reverse: what handicaps their art is that everything and everyone (critics, historians, compatriots as well as foreigners) hooks the art onto the great national family portrait photo and will not let it get away.

—Milan Kundera, Testaments Betrayed

“FUTURISM IS DEAD!” With these words, declaimed a hundred years ago by Ilia Zdanevich in a lecture in Moscow, the Georgian avant-garde came into its own. Zdanevich, who was one of the most radical poets and artists of the time, had been among the first to spread the ideas of Futurism in Russia, and declaring the movement’s demise was an effective means of introducing the rival

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