Georgia: A Story of Encounters

Brussels, Europalia

27.10.2023 - 18.02.2024

At the crossroads of East and West, traversed by trade routes linked to the Silk Roads, and always the object of ambition of the great powers surrounding it, Georgia has been a place of encounters and exchanges from which it has drawn cultural nourishment. The result is a heritage of unparalleled richness. In the context of Europalia Georgia Festival Art and History Museum in Brussels hosts a heritage exhibition focussing on the culture, history, and art of Georgia since the Neolithic period.

The exhibition design organises the open square plan of the large gallery with a symmetrical geometry that is inspired by Darbazi, the traditional ceiling structures in Georgian countryside. Airtight glass showcases for valuable artefacts are built in to walls constructed with the existing exhibition structures and reusing glass plates from previous exhibitions. The walls are covered with black fabric and house displays with different colours that indicate the curatorial chapters. These colours are also applied to the free standing pedestals and vitrines of the individual chapters. They correspond to the colours defined for The Avant-garde in Georgia, the inaugural exhibition of the Europalia Georgia Festival, and subtly link both exhibitions. Tall hessian fabric sheets, also a material often found in traditional Georgian interiors, are suspended from the ceiling and introduce contextual information on reproduced documents for each section as a backdrop. Multimedia elements such as a large back projection for Ingel Vaikla's commissioned film A Thousand Times They Say and flat screens showing all pages of manuscripts are integrated in the fabric covered walls.

Client: Europalia
Location: Art and History Museum, Brussels / BE
Curators: Prof. Bernard Coulie & Prof. Nino Simonishvili icw Europalia
Artistic Direction: Dirk Vermaelen with Marie-Eve Tesch
Execution: Chloroform
Lighting: Art and History Museum
Art handling: Fuller
Graphic design: Sara De Bondt studio
Assistant: Maxime Descheemaecker
Intern: Francesca Desantis
Photography: Robbrecht Desmet