Mamuka Mikeladze

Divided between the Outsider Art and the Art Naïve, the coloured mythologies of Mamuke Mikeladze are those that take the most of the tradition of patchwork. The sequences that the artist extracts from the reality enrol in geometric musical scores or post-cubist labyrinths. Sometimes the reference space of the painting breaks up, like this Eve with blue hair, naked on a checkerboard, looking for her Adam. Here she is again tempted by a gigantic apple made inaccessible by the laws of the composition. Farther away, a horseman with a moustache seems to question our curiosity overlapping with a red horse. And then this perplex fairy whose dress embroidered with gold reminds us of certain aesthetical orientations of the Expressionist School of Vienna. And finally a ghostly couple, in a manner of hieratic figures typical of Byzantine icons of late Antiquity, a bridge period with the Middle Ages. A period that starting from the III century, assembled around the Mediterranean basin ancient civilizations, Christian traditions and barbaric influences. The term icon comes from the Greek eikon, which signifies all possible kinds of images, including mental images. In the history of art, this term applies to sacred images painted on wood and destined to the cult. Most ancient Georgian icons date from IX century, such as the Virgin of Tsilkani. At a contrast to Mikeladze, it’s not about saints under consideration but the first sexual couple of the humanity.


Animals are not forgotten either. Like this head of a meditative ox trying to roll himself out of a pictorial keepnet where it got itself entangled. Or this bird-woman again with a jug or the donkey towing away a undefined vegetal plant and trumpeting in its effort. And finally this geometric dragonfly that seems to hesitate to alight.

If Mikeladze fills up surfaces and textures till their saturation, it is done in search of an interior construction. Bringing together natural forms with a space fragmentation inherited in a manner from Cubism, the multiplicity of styles combined here shows that the artist aims less at dogmatic affirmation than at eclecticism. By abundance and combination of universal signs that he combines, he especially tries to display a model of interpretation in harmony avec the broken visions that touch him. Sometimes taken from the Bible, his perception of things is based according to him more on a lack of harmony of material world than on its inhumanity. I never reach a satisfaction, he picks up again. For him indeed at the image of every day passing by, the art should deliver a battle, a new one every time and with an uncertain end.

Stéphan Lévy-Kuenz