© 2019 IRINA KURTISHVILI

BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW / UNDERGO. THE PARALLELS

Group Show / Public Space Project / Baratashvili Bridge, Tbilisi (25.05. – 02.06.2012)

EN

The two-part project for the underground passage inside the Baratashvili Bridge is based on historical materials from a private architecture archive in Tbilisi. This photographic material is rhythmically mounted on the graffiti-covered walls of the bridge´s pedestrian crossing and thematizes its nearly century-long history in serving an urban function. Connotative memories are invoked, and earlier (mis)perceptions might become evident and either rectified or validated. In any case, it is an invitation to join a trip into the controversial history of this visionary bridge and its varying utilization. The visionary architecture of this structure even includes one exhibition space for art, which was used for this purpose for a short time only. 

 

The second part of the project consists of a single slide installation mounted in the underground passage, which opens up to the current governmental palace and Freedom Square. The slide depicts the former steel Mukhrani Bridge. Metaphorically, the Mukhrani Bridge inside the new bridge construction establishes symbolic ties with the past, present and an intended future. 

EN

The two-part project for the underground passage inside the Baratashvili Bridge is based on historical materials from a private architecture archive in Tbilisi. This photographic material is rhythmically mounted on the graffiti-covered walls of the bridge´s pedestrian crossing and thematizes its nearly century-long history in serving an urban function. Connotative memories are invoked, and earlier (mis)perceptions might become evident and either rectified or validated. In any case, it is an invitation to join a trip into the controversial history of this visionary bridge and its varying utilization. The visionary architecture of this structure even includes one exhibition space for art, which was used for this purpose for a short time only. 

 

The second part of the project consists of a single slide installation mounted in the underground passage, which opens up to the current governmental palace and Freedom Square. The slide depicts the former steel Mukhrani Bridge. Metaphorically, the Mukhrani Bridge inside the new bridge construction establishes symbolic ties with the past, present and an intended future. 

DE

Das zweiteilige Projekt in die Unterführungen in Baratashvili-Brücke, basierte auf historischen Materialen, welche einem privaten Architekturarchiv entstammen. Diese Bilddokumente rhythmisierten die teils mit Graffitis überzogenen Wände der Fußgängerübergänge und thematisierten die fast hundertjährige Geschichte dieses Ortes. Erinnerungen wurden aktiviert und damals unverstanden Wahrgenommenes wurde sinnfällig: Eine Einladung zu einer Reise also, in die kontroverse, wie wechselvolle Geschichte dieser Anfang der 1960er Jahre durchaus visionären Brückenarchitektur; zu deren Besonderheiten gehörte auch ein Kunstausstellungsraum, der aber nur für eine relative kurze Zeit genutzt wurde.

 

Der zweite Teil des Projekts bestand aus einer Dia-Installation in der Unterführung, die sich zum heutigen Regierungspalast und Friedensplatz öffnete. Projiziert wurde hier das Motiv der Vorgängerbrücke namens Mukhrani, die zuvor die beiden Stadtteile am gleichen Ort verbunden hat und nun als Lichterscheinung metaphorisch eine Brücke zwischen Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und einer geplanten Zukunft schlug.

This project has been carried out in the framework of a curatorial project "undergo. the parallels" by GeoAIRwith the support of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme funded by the European Union in the framework of the SPACES, a project promoting artistic action in the public space and the recovery of urban public spaces for art, culture and their residents 

 

ARTISTS: Irina Kurtishvili and Andreas M. Kaufmann 
CURATOR: Nini Palavandishvili, GeoAIR, Tbilisi

 

SPACES TV Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (Video Diary #3)

SPACES TV “Red and Blue” – An installation by Vasili Macharadze inside the Baratashvili Bridge

Photographies by W. Kurtishvili

ARCHITECTS:

Wladimir Kurtishvili (1935 – 1996) / Architect, urbanist, designer, teacher / MAJOR ARCHITECTURAL WORKS: Baratashvili Bridge, Tbilisi, 1964 / Village Niya on Baikal-Amur Main-Lane, 1975 / Reconstruction of State Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi, 1985 / Hotel Metekhi Palace, Tbilisi, 1990 / AWARDS / PRIZES / HONORARY TITLES: Honoured Architect of Georgia, 1979 / Prize of Young Communist League of Georgia, 1982 / Prize of Council of Ministers of the USSR, 1983 / Prize of Council of Ministers of Georgia, 1984 / Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Architecture, Moscow Branch, 1992

 

 

Shota Kavlashvili (1926 – 1995) / Architect, urbanist, designer, teacher / MAJOR ARCHITECTURAL WORKS: Baratashvili Bridge, Tbilisi, 1964 / Author of reconstruction and renewal of the old part of Tbilisi, 1983 / Hotel Metekhi Palace, Tbilisi, 1990 / AWARDS / PRIZES / HONORARY TITLES: Honoured Architect of Georgia / Chief Architect of Tbilisi, 1980 – 1991 / Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi, 1985 / Shota Rustaveli State Prize of Georgia, 1985 / Prize of Council of Ministers of the USSR / Member of the International Academy of the Architecture of the Oriental Countries

Baratashvili Bridge, east side / photography by Andreas M. Kaufmann

At the moment the Baratashvili Bridge (here: west side) with its underground passage is in a deplorable state and urgently needs proper restoration and maintenance Photography by Andreas M. Kaufmann 

TOUR AROUND THE BRIDGE:

The project is a step towards presenting – and in this way re-established – historical authenticity of the place. This is also an attempt to return the spaces inside the Bridge its original function as exhibition space. The authentic story of the Bridge and his area is chronologically narrated and represented through the photos by architect / Detail of the new Baratashvili Bridge, 1970

The exhibition spaces were closed during the perestroika. A probable, reason of that might lay in the „hidden character“ of the bridge underpass with its „exhibition contents“, what was possibly a contradiction to some demands of cultural authorities of that time / Photography from the interior of the exhibition hall inside the bridge, 1967

After establishing of the independence, the exhibition space was first reconstructed for some other purposes and later deliberately destroyed / Photography from the interior of the exhibition hall inside the bridge, 1967

Availability of these, both unique and numerous photo-documents provides logical and convincing motivation for revealing the events, which were related to the hundred years long history of this area – from Mukhrani Bridge (build 1911) via Baratashvili Bridge, (build 1966) until 2012 / West side passage

Mukhrani Ferry across the Mtkvari River with a view of the central part of the town (1903). Lather, 1908–1911 Mukhrani Bridge was built on this site / book “Old Tbilisi” by Tamaz Gersamia, Publishing House  “Sabtshota sakartvelo”, Tbilisi, 1984

The historical moment: deconstruction of the Mukhrani Bridge and parallel construction of the Baratashvili Bridge, 1965 / Mukhrani Bridge, view from the right embankment, 1960

West side passage with Graffiti-covered wall and the part of light installation at the northern end of the underpass

The exhibition visitors, as well as ordinary passers-by, get into the place through a double entrance of the underground passage where they will see the single slide light installation by Andreas M. Kaufmann. The slide depicts the former steel bridge called Mukhrani

Metaphorically, former Mukhrani Bridge inside the new bridge construction establishes symbolic ties with the Past, Present and an intended future

The bridge architecture provides possibility of free mowing both into the left and right directions to observe the whole area. The tour around the bridge has length of approximately 430 meters

AFTER TWO MONTHS:

Baratashvili Bridge / project drafts for the competition: elevations, 1964

EN

BARATASHVILI BRIDGE 

History

 

The spot where the Baratashvili Bridge stands today was always considered to be one of the most important strategic intersections in the city. During the Russian-Turkish conflict (1877-1878) a ferry boat was in operation here which carried 2000 passengers daily from the right to the left bank, where the Russian military had set up quarters. 


The situation changed at the beginning of the 20th century, calling for the construction of a permanent connection. Evgeny Paton, a Ukrainian engineer well-known in Georgia at the time, was awarded the contact, and in 1911 an 11 m wide metal bridge with a carriageway of costly eucalyptus wood was built. The old bridge was named “Mukhrani Bridge” after the Georgian nobleman Prince Muchransky and was use for half a century. I was razed in 1965 within the couse of the complete refurbishment of the Riverside Thoroughfare and replaced with the new Baratashvili Bridge. (Competition 1964, Architects: Shota Kavlashvili and Wladimir Kurtishvili, engineer: Giorgi Kartsivadze).

 

The 26 m wide and150 m long bridge represented significant progress in Soviet architecture. Its specific feature is its construction, which consists of two independent levels, one for transportation, the other for pedestrians. The underpass with four entrances on either side allows pedestrians to reach the other side of the city without having to cross the main riverside thoroughfare.

 

This original, functionally-based construction was a far cry from conventional bridge architecture of the time. Underneath the bridge exhibition rooms (right side) and café pavilion (left side) were opened, which made the complex particularly attractive. The exhibition room only existed for 20 years; it was closed during the perestroika period in the mid-1980's. It may well be that the existence of this exhibition hall contradicted the principles of Soviet culture at the time and therefore intentionally destroyed.

 

At the end of the 1990's, the construction fell prey to the “privatization frenzy”, when many valuable objects, as also the exhibition hall, were auctioned off. The space under the bridge was converted to a night club. Today the underpasses and also the Baratashvili Bridge itself are in miserable condition and in urgent need of thorough renovation.

 

 

Sources:
Tamaz Gersamia, “Old Tbilisi”, “Sabtshota sakartvelo” Publishing House, Tbilisi, 1984
Magazine “Soviet Art” issue 11, 1978.
S. Kintsurashvili, The Architecture of Soviet Georgia, Stroizdat: Moscow, 1974 

DE 
BARATASHVILI BRÜCKE 
Geschichte


Von Anfang an galt die Stelle, an der heute Baratashvili Brücke steht, als eine der wichtigsten strategischen Kreuzungen der Stadt. In den Zeiten der russisch-türkischen Auseinandersetzungen (1877–1878) verkehrte an diesem Ort eine Flussfähre, welche pro Tag ca.2000 Passagiere von der rechten zur linken Uferseite beförderte, wo das russische Militär sein Quartier aufgeschlagen hatte.
 

Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts änderte sich die Situation und es wurde notwendig, eine feste Verbindung zu errichten. Ein damals bekannter Ukrainischer Ingenieur, Jewgeny Paton, erhielt den Auftrag, und im Jahr 1911 wurde eine 11 m breite Metallbrücke mit einer Fahrbahn aus teurem Eukalyptusholz errichtet. Die alte Brücke war nach dem georgischen Adligen Fürst Muchransky als „Mukhrani Brücke“ bekannt und überlebte ein halbes Jahrhundert.1965 wurde sie im Zuge der kompletten Neuanlage der Ufer-Magistrale abgebaut und durch die neue Baratashvili Brücke ersetzt. (Wettbewerb 1964, Architekten Shota Kavlashvili und Wladimir Kurtishvili, Ingenieur Giorgi Kartsivadze).

 

Die 26 m breite und 150 m lange Brücke stellte einen bedeutenden Fortschritt in sowjetischer Architektur dar. Ihre Besonderheit liegt in der Konstruktion, welche zwei unabhängige Ebenen beinhaltet: eine für den Transport, die andere für Fußgänger. Die Unterführungen, mit beiderseits je vier Eingängen ermöglichen Passanten, die andere Stadtseite zu erreichen, ohne die Ufer-Magistrale überqueren zu müssen.

 

Dieses auf absoluter Funktionalität basierende, originelle Verkehrsbauwerk war weit entfernt von der damals herkömmlichen Brückenarchitektur. Unter der Brücke wurde ein Ausstellungsraum (rechte Seite) und ein Café-Pavillon (linke Seite) eröffnet, was dem Komplex besondere Attraktivität verlieh. Der Ausstellungsraum hat nach der Eröffnung nur 20 Jahre lang existiert; seine Schließung liegt in der Zeit der Perestroika, Mitte der 1980er-Jahre. Es ist nicht auszuschließen, dass die Existenz dieses Ausstellungsraumes in gewisser Weise den damaligen Prinzipien sowjetischer Kultur widersprach und deshalb bewusst vernichtet wurde.

 

Ende 1990er- Jahre unterlag das Bauwerk dem postsowjetischen „Privatisierungswahn“, als viele wertvolle Objekte, wie auch der Ausstellungsraum unter den Hammer kamen. Der Ausstellungsraum unter der Brücke wurde umgebaut und zum Nachtclub umfunktioniert. Heute befinden sich die Unterführungen, wie die Baratashvili Brücke selbst, in einem miserablen, unwürdigen Zustand und würden dringend einer gründlichen Sanierung bedürfen.