SPACES. CULTURAL PUBLIC SPHERE IN ARMENIA, GEORGIA, MOLDOVA AND UKRAINE
Publication for the Project / 2014
This publication explores the development of a cultural public sphere in Central Eastern Europe. Framed by reflections on the past, it invites the reader to follow the contemporary experiences of the project SPACES – Sustainable Public Areas for Culture in Eastern Countries, which developed numerous participative artistic and cultural actions in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine from 2011 until 2014. From underground passages in Tbilisi, Georgia, to places of memory in Yerevan, Armenia, derelict industrial zones in Kyev, Ukraine, and areas of urban conflicts in Chisinau, Moldova: the artistic interventions presented in this volume mirror the social transformation processes in post-Soviet Europe and the positioning of artists in the struggle for change and for new, empowered forms of citizenship.
Die Publikation untersucht kulturelle Entwicklung der öffentlichen Raum in Mittelosteuropa. Umrahmt von Reflexionen über die Vergangenheit lädt sie den Leser ein, den aktuellen Erfahrungen des Projekts SPACES – Sustainable Public Areas for Culture in Eastern Countries zu folgen, das von 2011 bis 2014 zahlreiche partizipative künstlerische und kulturelle Aktionen in Armenien, Georgien, Moldawien und der Ukraine entwickelte. Von Unterführungen in Tiflis, Georgien, über Erinnerungsorte in Eriwan, Armenien, verfallene Industriegebiete in Kiew, Ukraine, bis hin zu urbanen Konfliktgebieten in Chisinau, Moldawien: Die vorgestellten künstlerischen Interventionen spiegeln die gesellschaftlichen Transformationsprozesse wider im postsowjetischen Europa.
With contributions by Ruben Arevshatyan, Nataša Bodrožić, Kateryna Botanova, Oleksandr Burlaka, Heidi Dumreicher, Nora Galfayan, Ina Ivanceanu, Bettina Kolb, Aleksandra Krauze, Richard S. Levine, Nini Palavandishvili, Lali Pertenava, Oleksiy Radinski, Stefan Rusu, Vitalie Sprinceana, Taguhi Torosyan, Vladimir Us.
Edited by Nataša Bodrožić and Nini Palavandishvili
Published by Verlag Bibliothek der Provinz, Weitra, Austria
23 x 17 cm / 208 pages / softcover
Images in colour and b/w
Print run: 2000
Printed in Austria
Pages 38-39 / Baratashvili Bridge and underground passage, Tbilisi, 2012 / Photo by Nini Palavandishvili
Pages 32-33 / Project: Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, 2012 (bottom right) / Photos by Nini Palavandishvili and Agnieszka Pokrywka
Pages 46-47 / Drawings, plans and photographies of the bridge, 1964-65 / Project: Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, 2012 / Photos by Nini Palavandishvili
IN SEARCH OF PUBLIC SPACE AGENTS
Art in Underground Public Space. Guided Tour by Stefan Rusu as Part of the Project undergo. the parallels
Excerpt / pages 47-48
“The next destination of our tour under Baratashvili Bridge is significant for its art exhibition space and cafeteria (both of which were later re-developed and destroyed) that functioned in the sixties and seventies. This passage is also notable for its reactivation trough several artistic projects in the framework of the undergo. the parallels project such as presentation of the personal archive of the aforementioned architect Kurtishvili.
The 26 meter wide bridge that hides the underground structure was built between 1965 and 1966, conceived by Shota Kavlashvili and Vladimir Kurtishvili, with an upper level for public transport and a lower level for pedestrians. Beneath one end of the bridge the cafeteria was planned and beneath the other, the exhibition space. The exhibition space, conceived for the Union of Fine Arts of Georgia, opened in 1966. For the next two decades, it hosted many public events organized by the Union. One of the first exhibitions was that of Vladimir Kurtishvili`s graphic works, which he organized together with artist Irakli Ochiauri. This exhibition opened during the inauguration of the bridge.
The project of Baratashvili Bridge later won second prize for its complexity and originality of design in a public contest hosted by the USSR. In the following years, however, the exhibition space was dismantled on the grounds that under a bridge was an inferior place to exhibit art (the status of which was generally elevated in Socialist times). It was then moved to the Union of Fine Arts in a central part of the city. Following such transformations, the passage decidedly became an abandoned territory.
Drawing from her personal archives, Vladimir Kurtishvili´s daughter Irina eventually organized an exhibition of the drawings and plans for the structure beneath the bridge that Vladimir and Shota Kavlashvili had designed. These materials recreated the atmosphere of another time and reminded viewers of the old exhibition space and other functions of and under the bridge, now dismantled."