Recurring motifs inhabit Basilaia’s figurative oeuvre: various animals, and many passers-by, silhouettes of men walking hurryingly, from right to left, from left to right like puppets. They are first sketched in ink then given relief with color and newspaper collages. Who are they? Where are they going? It is not known, but they look determined. As if caught in flight, these walkers, who are often feminine figures, pass each other, or march forward together, like a choreographed urban ballet. Some solitary figures bring about memories of long gone troubadour or pilgrims on a journey across Europe.
Folklore and tales of Basilaia’s native Georgia are never far away neither is the “Vie de Bohème” of his childhood. Treated with tenderness and a touch of irony, are red wigged clowns or a musician brandishing a violin or blowing in a horn. In the series, Stalinland photographed symbols and icons of the Soviet culture are confronted and paired with libertine characters and excesses from the Occidental society, in anachronous collages. Although his technique of photo-collage place Basilaia in the linage of such neo-realists as Mimmo Rotella, Raymond Hains, or Jacques de la Villeglé his poetic universe is closer to that of Chagall, whose oeuvre he admires.
Basilaia’s works reflect the patchwork of life where events, loved ones, and situations compose an improbable collage. That life is not static, even his windmill seems to be fleeing, already halfway in the air. Some of his itinerants are made up of chunks of maps, as if to stress their universal identity, maybe an expression of the multitude of displaced human beings in our modern society. Some of them glance at us furtively, yet with insistence, as if they wanted to tell their life-long journey in this brief instant.
Andre Basilaia’s grandfather was a painter, and his father was a composer. This double heritage had a major influence on Basilaia, who started out as a musician, before switching to become a painter.
Painting and Rock’n’roll
A singer and a bassist, the teenage Basilaia played in several music groups after school, including in his father’s orchestra. But already obsessed with drawing, even on music tours, he always brought his sketchbook and pencils. At seventeen, to pursue his musical career, he enrols in Tbilissi’s Superior School of Cinema and Dramatic Arts; he even plays in a few films. As soon as he graduates though, he goes back to painting. During that time he moves in with his uncle, the painter Eduard Gukasov, who gives him his first formal art training in painting, drawing, pastel, colour, and perspective. He also travels several times to Paris, to visit his sister-in-law. For the next twenty years he tries to balance his life between music and painting. In 2003, Basilaia decides to move with his family to Paris, to finally be a painter.
(Born in 1960 in Tbilisi, Georgia)
2010 : galerie "9", Tbilissi.
galerie Orel Art, Paris.
2007 : galerie "L'œil du Huit", Paris. Galerie "Vernissage" Tbilissi
2006 : Ceiterbildungszentrum Norden, Germany.
2005 : Centre d’art national, Tbilissi.
2002 : galerie "L'œil du Huit", Paris.
galerie "TMS", Tbilissi.