Louisiana Revue published alongside the exhibition of Georgia's most famous artist and avant-garde hero, Niko Pirosmani, (1862-1918), in the spring of 2023 at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Only a few sources are available telling the story of Pirosmani, but today he is referred to as the painter of the Georgian soul, culture and everyday life. His pictures are straightforward, realistic in their simplicity, originally cropped and are about the human space, where people live, eat and meet the animals.
The appeal of the images is simple, but also sophisticated. With a few brushstrokes, Pirosmani transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary. The portraits have the same intensity as Orthodox icons, and the images of the lion, the deer and the giraffe have something alluring and disturbing about them at the same time. Their eyes touch you. The black base color shines through the other colors - just like in the portraits.
Pirosmani lived and worked in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, around the turn of the last century - as a self-taught sign painter and penniless vagabond. It was not until the first two decades of the 20th century that an artistic work unfolded for the urban wanderer, with his painting tools in his suitcase. There is both the van Gogh myth and Henri Rousseau in the position Pirosmani has come to occupy since.
Pirosmani's entrance into art history is among the few documented stories about this legend. He is discovered as an artist by other artists from the avant-garde milieu in Moscow and St. Petersburg, who in the second decade of the 20th century began to turn themselves in the direction of expression, artistic practice and traditions, that can undercut the hardened tastes of that period.
You understand the avant-garde milieu's sense of Pirosmani, whose images work - without detours. There is a presence, an immediacy, in his universe, that has the clear appeal of the sign painter and expresses a great artistic talent at the same time.
Dimensions: H: 25.5 x W: 21.0 cm
Published by Louisiana, 2023