Mariana Chkonia

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E. A. Shared Space

The Night of the Wolf-Headed King, E.A. Shared Space, 2022, is Mariana Chkonia’s first solo exhibition. Based on a poem of the same title by Gogita Chkonia, 1950-2009, the artist's father an experimental film-maker and poet, the exhibition gathers Chkonia’s recent body of work created specifically for the occasion.
Based on traditional Georgian and South Caucasian felt techniques, such as dry and wet felting and using natural wool, Chkonia’s work rethinks the ancient traditions close to being extinct in Georgia.

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Installation views and details from The Night of the Wolf-Headed King - first solo exhibition by Mariana Chkonia ran at E.A. Shared Space, Tbilisi, November 22 - January 14, 2023

Mariana Chkonia is a contemporary Georgian artist who started experimenting with creating art during the Covid lockdown. Tucked in the Georgian countryside, she revived traditional Georgian and South Caucasian felt techniques, such as dry, wet, and needle felting using natural colors. Mariana has researched the history of this particular applied art in Tushetian Mountains in the Caucasus. Following traditional technic, she transformed them into new contemporary art forms.

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Chkonia`s work repurposes ancient techniques, which are close to being extinct within Georgia, and develops her artistic language.

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Chkonia has an architectural background, manifested in the monumentality of her works and a softness visualized in color and motion. She assembles abstract geometrical forms with painterly and sculptural qualities creating depth in the two-dimensional textile works. The material she uses, naturally oily sheep wool, is traditionally used for its healing powers, curing anything from rheumatism to antiinflammatory properties. Her works create a dialogue around healing as a practice, belief, and actual quality of the material.

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