Tbilisi Art Fair bridges the inclusion chasm in the global art world

Art fairs are the places where one meets like-minded individuals, among other kinds, amusing and enlightening others. When I visit fairs, I am presented with more than simply art; it is the shift in my mentality that occurs quickly as a result of encounters with individuals from various backgrounds. With reticent wonderment, I now visit art exhibitions, inspect the artwork, and spend some time listening to the quirky people I meet. We are immensely fortunate as humans to be able to see art at fairs, comprehend and react to it. The third edition of the Tbilisi Art Fair, which is taking place in Georgia, is one event where a person would wish to spend enough time. TAF hosts galleries, artists, professionals, art enthusiasts, curated art events, performances, talks, concerts, along with a parallel programme running across Tbilisi, and much more. Hungary, Ukraine, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, the United States, Japan, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Israel, China, and India are among the nations showcasing at the 2022 edition. Tbilisi Art Fair also includes numerous Ukrainian artists, particularly from the youth photographic scene.

The Arc de triomphe wrapped, Paris, 2021, Luca Battaglia Image: Courtesy of Tbilisi Art Fair

A fallacy that has recently emerged is that purchasing expensive paintings qualifies you as an art collector. Collectors appreciate the importance that dynamic artists offer to communities, and they can spark interest in a certain artist’s work. This investment allows artists to continue working, establish their reputation, evolve, and generate more value. Sarah Thornton mentions in her book Seven Days in the Art World that art investment is similar to real estate rather than stocks. Some Andy Warhol works are mid block studio apartments with northern exposures, while others are penthouse homes with 360-degree views. A share of Cisco, on the other hand, is always just a share of Cisco. TAF sells works at all price points; a wise collector or novice buyer may discover joy by paying less than 1000€, as well as by purchasing works by more established artists for less than 10,000€.

Blue Pool, 2021, Ilia Balavadze | Tbilisi Art Fair | STIRworld
Blue Pool, 2021, Ilia Balavadze Image: Courtesy of Tbilisi Art Fair

The Georgian galleries participating in the fair include LC Queisser and Window Project, presenting artists such as Tea Gvetadze, Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, Uta Bekaia, Tamara KE, Anna KE, Gvantsa Jishkariani. Also exhibiting is the Georgian painter Vera Pagava, who emigrated to France in 1923. The international art galleries are well represented at TAF with the Parisians Odile Ouizeman, Nivet Carzon, and a group of young artists including Yves Bartlett, the Frenchman of Algerian-Cino origin, Timothée Li, French ceramist Daria Krotova and Uzbek artist Aleksander Barkovskiy, and several others.

Among the 36 artists presenting their works in the Hive section, which is primarily intended for young and emerging contemporary artists of all ages and nationalities who do not yet have gallery representation, TAF highlights the paintings of Lizi Budagashvili, who lives in New York; the landscapes of Tsisia Kiladze, the polaroids of Alexandre Bagrationi-Davidoff, the digital works of Alex Kiessling, and the installation of the UK artists David Penny and many more.

Landscape, Oil on Cardboard, GogiTotibadze | Tbilisi Art Fair | STIRworld
Landscape, oil on cardboard, Gogi Totibadze Image: Courtesy of Tbilisi Art Fair

In partnership with QGallery in Baku, the fair also features works by Japanese artist Masao Yamamoto, nine young photographers from the MYPH photography school, and sculptures and light installations by visual artist Rashad Alabarov. Add to that a rich parallel programme of exhibitions in galleries, art centres, and museums. The Talks programme at TAF addresses issues such as creation in wartime, the NFT market, gender and equality issues, and Georgian creation on the international market, with local and international speakers.

Chanel House, October 1990, Thierry Bouët; R: Couple, 2012watercolour on paper, VakhoBugadze| Tbilisi Art Fair| STIRworld
L: Chanel House, October 1990, Thierry Bouët; R: Couple, 2012 watercolour on paper, Vakho Bugadze Image: Courtesy of Tbilisi Art Fair

With a focus on empowering promising artists and small or medium-sized galleries that genuinely support their artists, but do not have many opportunities to be present at major international fairs that are either too expensive or too closed, TAF revitalises the local and international art scene by broadening opportunities for artistic scenes, particularly in the Caucasus, Central, and Eastern Europe, and by providing access to artists who are difficult to find in central art markets. TAF is therefore both a tool for facilitating the acquisition of works of art and a launching pad for international initiatives and possibilities for creative mobility and interchange.

Birch Bone, 2020, mixed media on velvet,Thea Gvetadze | Tbilisi Art Fair| STIRworld
Birch Bone, 2020, mixed media on velvet, Thea Gvetadze Image: Courtesy of Tbilisi Art Fair

Tbilisi Art Fair began on September 22 goes on until September 25, 2022.

Tbilisi Art Fair 2022 in Georgia Image: Courtesy of tbilisiartfairon Instagram

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