Artist’s biographical note

Levan Songulashvili (b. 1991) is a Georgian-born New York-based visual artist; painter, draughtsman, installation and multimedia video artist.

He began painting at three years old and received professional training in his hometown during his teen years. At the age of 19, after the artist’s solo show in Georgia, he was invited to Germany as part of the art project. The western culture, German and French philosophy and psychoanalysis has influenced the young artist’s world view, and he proceeded to new creative experiments and conceptual research on his return to Georgia, which was a beginning of a new stage in his art.

In 2013, Songulashvili graduated from The Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, with a Bachelor’s degree in Drawing and Printmaking. Afterwards he won several merit scholarships and art prizes and became the first Georgian artist who earned his Master’s (M.F.A.) degree from The New York Academy of Art (founded by Andy Worhol) in Painting.

Award-winning works and multimedia installations are shown in art galleries, private collections, and museums worldwide.
In 2016, Songulashvili’s works were selected for the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Museum, NY.

Songulashvili have collaborated with Turner Prize-winning artist – Jeremy Deller, American rock star – Iggy Pop, Japanese fashion designer – Issey Miyake; work has been exhibited alongside pieces by Egon Schiele, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marina Abramović, Spencer Tunick, Yoko Ono, Odd Nerdrum, among others.

He has received a number of national and international awards, including The President’s award, The Prime-Minister’s award, and the New York State Assembly award for Achievements and Contribution to the Arts.

Songulashvili’s monograph of his artwork “The STYX” co-authored by Mark Gisbourne, former President of the British Art Critics Association, and published by ERTI Gallery, was shortlisted and presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018.

The idea of mutability and possession of an independent sense of emergent identity is of great concern to Songulashvili, particularly as it relates to the recent re-emergence of Georgia as an independent and autonomous state in 1991 — the year of the artist’s birth.

Levan Songulashvili explains his work by saying:

“I care about the mysteries of Life, its origins, its endless cycles and regenerations and I question the current civilization in which we find ourselves and wonder: what will be the future of Humankind? What is problematic for scientists is fascinating for me.”

Songulashvili also writes psychological prose, essays, verses and plays the piano.

Artistic practice

The paintings of Levan Songulashvili engage with powerful and abstracted themes relates to the prescient concerns of passage and presence. That is to say from states of consciousness to the unconscious. He deals allusively with a sense of boundary and transition, the immersive nature of the world, the psychical element of water, the idea of flow and flux.

As an artist he holds a mastery of affect and transience, having created painted works consisting of large-scale canvases that feature large expanses of grey-black washes infused with an otherworldly light; vast tonal shifts; and a primordial glow that hovers between the mythic and the bioluminescent, which also evoke feelings of the underworld, phantom-like blurred apparitions, images of the so-called “Shades” (Umbra), faces or presences that exist in an interstitial reality, an in between world of spectral dreams.

His use of sepia, white, grey, and black ties in with a long history of black and white art (paintings and graphics) that has sought to bring inner clarity to creative forms of expression. The use of colour is dependent all but totally on light while black and white are absolute polarities. It therefore also touches upon matter related to popular filmvideophotography, and specifically the polemic at the beginnings of Western Art, namely darkness (Pliny’s drawing a line around a shadow), or light (Plato’s cave and the theory of reflection).

Songulashvili’s use of the medusa-like jellyfish imagery is an operative metaphor, they are not intended in any sense as to be taxonomic, depictions of accuracy for the purpose of classification, but as a poetic metaphor of life and sensory experience. Jellyfish are also creatures of continuous passage taken wherever the tides and prevailing winds drive them. At the same time as an artist he has undertaken two personal aspects of passage, his developmental life-passage as an artist-painter, and his increasingly extensive travel and experiences.

Bibliography


Education

2014—2017 Masters of Fine Arts / MFA
New York Academy of Art, New York, USA

2009—2013 Bachelor of Fine Arts / BA
Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Tbilisi, Georgia


Artist in residence

20182017 68 Projects, Berlin, Germany

2018 Erti Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia


Public lectures

2018 The Tbilisi State Academy of Arts (TSAA)
2018 — 
The Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University (BSU)


2018 — TA at The New York Academy of Art, ART & CULTURE 2018 MFA program


Frankfurt Book Fair

2018 — Monograph of the artwork “The STYX”, co-authored by Mark Gisbourne (former President of the British Art Critics Association), publisher: ERTI Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany


Exhibition history

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2018 ERTI Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia

2010 Art Hall, Tbilisi, Georgia

2009 N. Dumbadze State Theatre Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia

Selected Group Exhibitions

2018 “Black Sea”, 68 Projects / Galerie Kornfeld, Berlin, Germany

ArtGenève – Palexpo Geneva, Geneva Art Fair, Switzerland

TAF (Tbilisi Art Fair), Tbilisi, Georgia

“From Life”, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK

2017 “Take Home a Nude 2017”, Sotheby’s, NY, USA

BWAC’s annual Black & White National Juried Exhibition, BWAC Gallery (Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition), NY, USA

Wilkinson Gallery, NY, USA

Tribeca Ball, NY, USA

2017 – 2016 “Iggy Pop Life Class”, Brooklyn Museum, NY, USA

2016 “Take Home a Nude 2016”, Sotheby’s, NY, USA

START Art Fair, SAATCHI Gallery, London, UK

Fourth Wall, BOOTH Gallery, NY, USA

ART16 Global Art Fair,Olympia, London, UK

Tribeca Ball, NY, USA

2015 “Take Home a Nude 2015”, Sotheby’s, NY, USA

Tribeca Ball, NY, USA

2014 Deck the Walls, Wilkinson Gallery, NY, USA

2013 Exhibition Hall of the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Tbilisi, GeorgiaTSAA “NATO” Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia

2012 Tbilisi State Conservatory Art Hall, Tbilisi, Georgia

2011 Art exhibition at the Ministry of Sport of Georgia / Tbilisi, GeorgiaArt Academy Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia

2010 Exhibition Hall of A. Griboedov Theatre, Tbilisi, Georgia

Exhibition Hall of Tbilisi Medical Institute / Tbilisi, Georgia

National Library, Tbilisi, Georgia

2009 The National Youth Palace, Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi Mayor’s Office, Tbilisi, Georgia

Elene Akhvlediani’s Art Gallery,  Tbilisi, Georgia

2007 Gallery HOBBY group exhibition, Tbilisi, Georgia

2006 The National Youth Palace, Tbilisi, Georgia

2005 The National Youth Palace, Tbilisi, Georgia

2004 The National Youth Palace, Tbilisi, Georgia


Awards & Nominations 

Nominations

2016 – Ego Awards  for “The Discovery of the Year”

2015Georgian Public Broadcaster’s Awards for “The Best Artist Of The Year”

Awards & Grants

2018 Artist of the Year 2017, ArtistADay

2017 People’s Choice, National Art Exhibition, BWAC Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition

The International Education Center (IEC) of Georgia’s Full Tuition Academic Scholarship Award

2016 New York State Assembly Award for achievements and contribution to Art

The International Education Center (IEC) of Georgia’s Full Tuition Academic Scholarship Award

2015 The International Education Center (IEC) of Georgia’s Full Tuition Academic Scholarship Award

New York Academy of Art Portrait Scholarship Award

2014 Academy Scholar Merit Award of the Admissions and Scholarship Committees

“Master and Doctoral Program” Full Tuition Scholarship Award, Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MES)

2013—2010 Tbilisi State Academy of Arts scholarship

2009—2013 Full Tuition Scholarship of the Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia

2012 International Certificate, international festival “Inter Art Batumi”

2011 Winner of JSC TBC Bank Scholarship for the Art Project in Germany

2010 Award and certificate of the Ministry of Education and Science for monumental painting as part of “Developing Inclusive Education at 9 Public Schools of Georgia” project of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia

National Library’s award for the successful participation in the open doors day

2008 Special prize and letter of appreciation for achievements from the President of Georgia

2008—2006 Awarded for successful participation in the Georgian Language Section of the Republican Educational and Art Conference

2007 Winner of I degree diploma at IV exhibition/competition of the Hobby Gallery

2006 Winner of I degree diploma at III exhibition/competition of the Hobby Gallery

National Youth Palace Fine Art Section award for active and successful participation in various exhibitions over years

2005 Winner of I degree diploma at II exhibition/competition of the Hobby Gallery

2004 Winner of I degree diploma at I exhibition/competition of the Hobby Gallery

2004 Winner of the international art competition “Niamori”


Publications, press & media

2017 Artists Working from Life (Royal Academy of Arts)

2017 AMARTA Magazine

2017 Artistaday.com

2017 LEVAN SONGULASHVILI, The Jellyfish (2016) – Paddle8

2016 Iggy Pop: Musician, Icon — and Now, Live Nude Model – The New York Times

2016 Levan Songulashvili – Young Georgian discovery of world art – Georgian Journal

2016 Raw power: why Iggy Pop posed naked for Jeremy Deller’s Life Class – The Guardian

2016 Georgia’s Levan Songulashvili among famous artists in Sotheby’s auction – Agenda.ge

2016 Levan Songulashvili’s “The Nun” sold at Take Home a Nude auction at Sotheby’s – Georgian Journal

2016 Creative artist Levan Songulashvili displays piece in New York – Agenda.ge

2016 “Existentialism in painting, discover the art of Levan Songulashvili” (Existentialisme in de schilderkunst, ontdek de kunst van Levan Songulashvili) – The Art Couche

2016 Top London fair shines spotlight on two Georgian artists – Agenda.ge

2016 LEVAN SONGULASHVILI, The Nun (2012) – Paddle8

2016 Georgian artist Levan Songulashvili shines at Tribeca Ball in NY – Agenda.ge

2016 Studio Visit (A Juried Selection of International Visual Artists) volume 33

2016 Levan Songulashvili – Art People Gallery

2016 The Jellyfish in Manhattan – INDIGO Magazine

2015 “I have very far-reaching goals” – Young Georgian Maestro sets about conquering the world with his brush – Georgian Journal

2015 I created “The Jellyfish” back in my native country, did not I?! – Kviris Palitra Magazine 

2015 LEVAN SONGULASHVILI,The Jellyfish (2013) – Paddle8

2015 Levan Songulashvili Features at Sotheby’s Art Auction – CBW

2015 Georgia Today

2011 Public Encyclopedia “Faces & Names”

2011 TSAA art manual “Art of Painting”

2010 Georgian annual Encyclopedia Sakhelebi / “Faces & Names”


TV

Rustavi2 – Iggy Pop Life Class and Levan Songulashvili at the Brooklyn Museum (video in Georgian)

GDS TV – “Visual Artist With International Recognition”, interview with Levan Songulashvili (video in Georgian)

RUSTAVI 2 – Rustavi 2 – Levan Songulashvili is once again in the highlight of art media (video in Georgian)

IMEDI TV documentary – “Visual Metaphor”, Levan Songulashvili (video in Georgian)

Georgian Public Broadcaster – The Best Georgian Artist Of The Year 2015

Music Box – Georgian Artist Levan Songulashvili

Georgian Public Broadcaster – Interview with Levan Songulashvili

Georgian Public Broadcaster / “The Communicator”, visual artist Levan Songulashvili

Portali Kvira

REAL TV

Maestro