Deborah Keller, Häusler Contemporary, Press release Expo "Independent Organism II", printemps 2017

Häusler Contemporary is pleased to present latest works by Geneva based artist Koka Ramisvhili who constantly fathoms the border areas of different artistic genres. For our show, the artist specifically designed an overall installation that includes current
black-and-white photographs and «sculptural paintings».
«Independent Organism II» is an exhibition within an exhibiton, an insert into the current show «Trouvailles» uniting paintings by David Reed and Richard Allen Morris. Due to the wide interest this show will be extended until the end of March 2017.

What is it that makes a picture a picture? How do different artistic genres relate in this matter? And how can the borderlines between these categories be eliminated? These are the questions that have been playing a key role within the work of Koka Ramishvili (*1957 in Tbilisi, GE, lives in Geneva, CH) from the very beginning. Ever since, he skillfully acts in different media such as video, painting, drawing, sculpture and installation.

His last solo show at Häusler Contemporary Zurich took place three years ago. We now are delighted to present an insight into the artist’s current creation. For our gallery, Ramishvili arranged an exciting overall installation consisting of selected new photographs and objects.

The small wooden blocks from the «Lost Land» series can be described as «sculptural paintings». With these works, Ramishvili tests landscape painting as an abstract, atmospheric fragment – in the technique of the Flemish Old Masters. In his current black and white photographs, he confronts opposing formal concepts such as contour and blurriness, still life and motion recording. The very poetic images that result from this approach seem to capture the structure of light and depict painterly qualities of photography, pushing the static medium to the limits of the filmic one.

With Koka Ramishvili’s presentation «Independent Organism II», Häusler Contemporary Zu?rich again puts to test variations of the traditional idea of exhibitions. Ramishvili’s installation is an insert into the show «Trouvailles» which raised a lot of interest and
therefore will be extended until the end of March 2017. It unites works from different periods by David Reed and Richard Allen Morris.


Deborah Keller, Häusler Contemporary, Press release Expo "Independent Organism", automne 2016

On the occasion of OPEN art, Häusler Contemporary München proudly presents the latest developments in the multimedia based work of Koka Ramishvili. Selected new works again make apparent, how skillfully Ramishvili fathoms the specific characteristics of different media, thus expanding their boundaries.

In his third solo exhibition at Häusler Contemporay München, Koka Ramishvili (*1956 in Tbilisi, GE) presents a selection of black and white photographs and sculptural paintings of 2016. The Geneva based artists who became internationally known mainly for his video pieces thus again shows the masterful complexity of his work.

In his current black and white pictures he confronts photography’s supposed ability to reproduce reality and its narrative aspects with formal concepts such as contour and blurriness, still life and motion recording. The very poetic images that result from this approach seem to capture the structure of light and depict painterly qualities of photography, pushing the static medium to the limits of the filmic one. With his series »Lost Landscape«, Ramishvili tests landscape painting as an abstract, atmospheric fragment – in the technique of the Flemish Old Masters. Furthermore, the subtle color gradients on wood figure somewhere between picture and object. Koka Ramishvili got wide attention thanks to his participation in the Venice Biennial of 2009. Apart from that, institutions such as the MAMCO in Geneva (2004) or he M HKA in Antwerp (2011) showed his work extensively.


Estelle Lucien, « Monographie : Koka, la totale », Edelweiss, avril 2015

«Le travail artistique de Koka Ramishvili est une interrogation permanente des médiums qu’il emploie, tout en les renvoyant les uns aux autres. La peinture interroge la vidéo et la photographie, la photographie s’interroge sur son passé «médiumnique», la production de dessins devient une narration vidéographique, et ainsi de suite.» C’est ce qu’on peut lire en préface de la première monographie consacrée à Koka Ramishvili, honoré du prix Irène Raymond en 2014. En 120 pages, l’ouvrage éclaire au travers de trois textes, dont une interview, l’oeuvre de cet artiste géorgien installé en Suisse depuis quinze ans. L’homme s’est d’abord distingué dans le documentaire. Désormais, il explore la peinture. «Il semble que, petit à petit, il ait trouvé un cadre plus serein et qu’il se soit naturellement tourné vers la peinture, dans un élan plus contemplatif, tout en continuant de questionner l’image», explique Karine Tissot, historienne de l’art et directrice du Centre d’art contemporain d’Yverdon-les-Bains, qui signe un des articles du livre et sera présente pour une rencontre avec Koka Ramishvili le 28 avril à la Galerie Laurence Bernard, à Genève, représentante de l’artiste.


« Koka Ramishvili Aeroland», in Kaele Magazine n°117, février 2015

Un geste suspendu

Koka Ramishvili est né en 1958 à Tbilissi, en Géorgie. Il vit et travaille à Genève depuis quinze ans. Son travail a fait l’objet de nombreuses expositions dans des institutions culturelles comme la Tate Modern à Londres, le Mamco à Genève, le Goethe Institut à Berlin, ou encore, le Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes.
Ses oeuvres interrogent l’histoire de l’art, la perception. Sa pratique est protéiforme, passant de la vidéo à la peinture mais garde des compositions semblables quel que soit le support. Les blocs de bois peints invitent aussi bien à la méditation qu’à une réflexion sur la place de la peinture dans les installations contemporaines. Sa vidéo, Coffe (2009), explore l’espace et le temps : l’écoulement du liquide contredit la perception dans un geste suspendu à l’infini.


Galerie Laurence Bernard, Genève, Dossier de presse de l'expo "Aeroland", janvier 2015

Aeroland regroupe une série de tableaux dans lesquels les préoccupations qui habitent les oeuvres de l’artiste sont réunies. Poursuivant son travail de déconstruction de la peinture, Koka Ramishvili, en dialogue permanent avec l’histoire de l’art, nous propose une version de l’image telle que nous pourrions la voir dans le futur. Une représentation tronquée, comme fugitive, déplacée et qui tend à disparaître au bénéfice de la surface blanche qui l’accueille. La création de ce plan intermédiaire au sein de la toile incarne ici l’écart conceptuel existant entre réalité perçue et réalité vécue, révélant l’illusion de réel induit par la mimesis. Il devient l’élément à partir duquel se construit le paysage. La bordure fonctionne aussi comme un élément architectural qui lie l’espace du tableau à celui de la pièce. Dominé par la piste qui le traverse, l’aérodrome duplique le jeu éphémère des surfaces mis en place par Koka Ramishvili.

La pratique artistique de l’artiste étant protéiforme, il passe de la vidéo à la peinture tout en appliquant à ces différents supports une composition semblable, qu’elle soit picturale ou graphique. La vidéo intitulée Coffe (2009), également présentée dans l’exposition, procède de la même intention. L’écoulement du liquide contredit la perception habituelle du temps et de l’espace, se déversant en continu dans un geste indéfiniment suspendu au-dessus d’une table.

Disposés à terre, des blocs de bois massifs à la surface colorée, rendent compte des réflexions de l’artiste sur la phénoménologie de la perception. La peinture appliquée en couches finement superposées, écho à la technique développée par les maîtres de l’école flamande, forme des dégradés qui invitent autant à la méditation qu’à l’exploration de paysages intérieurs. Ces éclats colorés désacralisent la peinture de chevalet en la soumettant aux règles contemporaines de l’installation et en la sortant de son support.

Koka Ramishvili, né en 1956 à Tbilissi en Géorgie, vit et travaille à Genève depuis quinze ans. Son travail a fait l’objet de nombreuses expositions dans des institutions culturelles comme la Tate Modern à Londres, le MAMCO, le Goethe Institut à Berlin, le Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, le Muséum Folkwang à Essen, le M KHA Contemporary Art Museum à Anvers, le Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, le Cobra Museum d’Amsterdam. Il a également participé au Festival International du documentaire et du film d’animation de Leipzig, et à la Biennale du Caire. Koka Ramishvili a représenté la Géorgie à la Biennale de Venise de 2009.

L’artiste a également exposé avec les galeries Hausler Contemporary (par laquelle il est
représenté à Munich et à Zu?rich), Wallspace Gallery à New York, Attitudes et Edward
Mitterrand à Genève et Artra Gallery à Milan.

Les oeuvres de Koka Ramishvili sont présentes dans de nombreuses collections parmi
lesquelles celles de Pictet & Cie, du M KHA Musée d’art contemporain de Anvers en
Belgique, du Centre de la Photographie de Genève, du FMAC et du FCAC.

Une monographie de l’artiste paraitra en mars 2015, éditée par les éditions du Centre de la Photographie Genève, en partenariat avec le FMAC Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain de Genève, le MAMCO, la galerie Hausler Contemporary et la galerie Laurence Bernard, avec des textes de Karine Tissot (Centre d’art contemporain d’ Yverdon-les-Bains), Joerg Bader (Centre de la Photographie de Genève) et Victor Missiano (curateur indépendant et rédacteur en chef de la revue spécialisée The Moscow Art Magazine).


Deborah Keller, Häusler Contemporary, Press release Expo "Radiance", printemps 2014

Several of Häusler Contemporary Zu?rich’s group exhibitions previously provided the opportunity to discover Koka Ramishvili’s work (*1956, Tbilisi). After two single presentations at the Munich gallery, the Zurich location now opens its first solo exhibition with recent works by the artist who already had major presentations at MAMCO in Geneva (2004), at the M HKA in Antwerp (2012) or at the Venice Biennial in 2009.

In his multimedia-based work which includes video, painting, drawing, photography, objects, and installation, the Geneva based artist Koka Ramishvili consistently pursues those issues which he has been concerned with ever since the beginnings of his career: the relationship between form and content, mind and matter, reality and appearance. Especially his works from the 1990s often take a political actuality as a starting point, since Ramishvili belonged to the so called «last Soviet generation» of artists who up from 1991 initiated a vivid art scene in Tbilisi. Koka Ramishvili was one of the most important driving forces of this active scene. With a highly sensitive attention he registered the transition from the old Soviet to the new western system and transferred it to most delicate and memorable visualizations.

His exhibition in Zurich with the ambiguous and poetic title «Radiance» now shows exclusive new paintings which merge ancient painting techniques with the chromatics of modernity, and which foil on the level of content the traditional concept of painting with the perspective of a film camera. Ramishvili’s longtime engagement with video art for which he became internationally famous thus turns out to be an important influence for his painterly strategies too.
Hence his latest paintings can be considered to be sort of a counterpart to the «trompe l’oeil» of traditional painting: the artist shows the motive as a carrier of meaning, but at the same time he unmasks it as pure surface. The viewer is no longer being presented with a «window on the world» through the painting but rather with a subjective and fragmentary reproduction of a possible and momentary worldview.

In a monumental contemporary landscape from the «Skyline» series per example that depicts the hint of a faraway horizon, the subject seems to have been shifted from the picture plane, leaving a white frame around the actual motive. Just as a film pushes its shots over the screen in a fast sequence of 24 images per second, the movies chosen by Ramishvili immediately have to give way again, which results in a an empty space that gives room for the viewers' imaginations.

Those «Skylines» vaguely reminiscent of color-field painting lead to the plain-colored and accurately nuanced «Transitions» or «Ambient» series. In these works as well as in the paper works that we show too, Ramishvili combines the painterly technique of the Flemish Old Masters with Henry Munsell’s theory of the three-dimensional concept of color. The American had developed his famous classification system for colors at the end of the 19th century, making it possible to objectively determine the different tones by means of a bowl model. With his elaborate and complex technique, Ramishvili manages to visualize color as a matter of light and air and paradoxically
capture it on the canvas.

More representational in a pictorial way – at least at first sight – are the «Projections». In a room depicted in black-and-white we can see an empty, bright shining screen, an abstract object and an area for «projections» – in both meanings of the word. Here too, the field of view is sometimes off-centered. In these works, the historical genre of painting takes possession of the comparatively young technique of film that is supposed to represent reality, and unmasks it too as a two-dimensional and illusionist construction.

A series of new objects completes our exhibition’s insight into the latest developments of Koka Ramishvili’s work that investigates the compatibility of a traditional concept – painting – and the contemporary possibilities of an image.


Michele Robecchi, « Koka Ramishvili », in Flash Art n°269, December 2009


Koka Ramishvili belongs to that generation of Eastern European artists that found themselves in a quandary, stuck between the old guard accustomed to the old system and the new one which had the possibility, at least theoretically, to interact with the Western half of the continent.
“Perforated Cinema,” his first solo show in Zurich, is a small but exhaustive retrospective that covers almost 20 years of work, taking as starting point the first time he spent outside his native Georgia, when he temporarily settled in Munich between 1990 and 1994. Video and photography are the two media Ramishvili seems to prefer the most, and it’s interesting to see the two formats dialoguing and at times acting as a surrogate to each other. “War From My Window” (1991-92), a series of black-and-white photographs dedicated to the conflicts that marked Georgia, is displayed on a sequence as a filmstrip, suggesting a narrative form. Similarly, videos like Good Morning – Platforms for Event (2005) or Tea (2004) are composed of repeated or looped images, to the point of looking still.