We’re very happy to present Mariana Chkonia’s works for the first time in Germany. This is also the first solo exhibition of the artist outside Georgia.
Mariana Chkonia (b. 1969) is an artist living and working between Tbilisi and Nukriani of the Kakheti region in Georgia. While her background is in architecture and interior design, today, Mariana Chkonia primarily works with textile. Her practice is based on traditional Georgian and South Caucasian felting techniques, such as dry, wet, and needle felting of natural wool, particularly from the mountains of Tusheti. With the knowledge around this practice largely lost in this region due to changing economic and social factors, Mariana is in fact reviving a centuries-old practice. Three years ago she started teaching herself different felting techniques from books and videos. The technique is ancient, but the freedom Mariana takes in her work allows for an innovative, unconventional approach. If modernist influences can be read in her at once bold and subtle use of color and in her generous expansion into space, the works are no less informed by the iconographies of her native region. The latter is, as Mariana reminded us in our conversations, the home of the sheep most of this wool comes from. This reminder is simple yet startling and revealing. And so, seen here, in these very different surroundings, Mariana’s tapestries are not simply works of art placed in a contemporary art context, but evoke an entire universe shaped by people, animals, color, light, landscapes, architectures.
A big thanks to Elene Abashidze, Thea Djordjadze, Mika Kruashvili, Anita Chkonia for their support. We’d also like to thank our lovely neighbors: Anne-Katrin Ahrens, Sarah Bohn and Lisa Herfeld from Fächer, Mortadella Press, Mieke Ulfig, and Dennis Eden for our great collaboration.
Last but not least, thank you, Mariana!