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Between Miracle

Center for Contemporary Art, Tbilisi

The artists have made the North their workplace and home, some are native but live and work in another Nordic country. March 8th & 9th, the seminar 'The Expanding Role of the Artist as Entrepreneur'.

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Almost twenty years after the “Nordic Miracle” the North is again at the top of the agenda with the New York Armory Show's 2012 Nordic focus. This is a good opportunity to spread the discussion of “Nordic” through an art exhibition and seminar in the more distant setting of Tbilisi, Georgia. The artists in the exhibition are not all Nordic by birth but have made the north their workplace and home, some are native but live and work in another Nordic country.

Much has been discussed in relation to what might or might not be characteristic for artists native to/or working in the Nordic countries and the conclusion almost always seems to be that there actually are not any themes, visual or conceptual to be found. Instead one finds a broad range of contemporary art from those looking toward modernism and earlier, to more inter-­disciplinary practices. Immigration and globalization, changing economies, has opened the perspective of Nordic artists on how to create the career, mainstream or otherwise. Nordic artists also seem to have embraced the ideas of actively participating in every step of their art production from research and creation to self-organization and curatorial work; with a strong sense of commitment to public engagement, rather than assuming a miracle will arrive.

What people call success is only preparation for the next failure.

-August Strindberg

This quote illuminates an aspect of the Nordic character that the exhibition and seminar will explore - the industrious, entrepreneurial determination of Nordic artists. The need for continuity through success and failure, but above all to trust the process, proceed with work, develop new strategies, move forward. Another aspect is the integration of the events into the public consciousness, through site-specific work, through the public forum.


Leslie Johnson and Josefina Posch’s visit to Tbilisi in September 2011 was to investigate the possibility for an art exhibition as a result of contacts since several years. After Leslie Johnson, then Director of Valand School of Fine Arts, along with other Swedish educators and culture producers visited Tbilisi in 2009 funded by the Swedish Institute; curator Magda Guruli was invited to Gothenburg for Valand's spring exhibition, several Valand teachers visited Center of Contemporary Art and four Valand students were in Tbilisi to develop and produce an exhibition (Transit) November 2010 in the CCA exhibition space. A Georgian artist, Giorgi Makhniashvilli, former student at the Tbilisi Academy, entered a one-year Valand postgraduate program, which he finished in May 2011. Wato Tsereli, Director of CCA was at Valand recently to lecture on contemporary art in Georgia, in commitance with his exhibition in Lund. The Armory shows 2012 focus on Nordic art further presents an opportunity to connect with the Georgian community in New York through the Irena Popashvilli, former gallerist and currently Director of Tbilisi Art Academy.

Between 2011-2013 SIDA - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency will focus on projects that foster co-operation towards Georgias integration in EU. Art works are an opportunity to create a bridge for people to share different perspectives, and art can provide an experience, which fosters personal and thus cultural development. Contemporary artists, in reflecting the world around them, often play with the "language of mass media" be it the technique or images which gives a potential for even non-art educated public to experience contemporary art Tbilisi is a perfect place to attempt to mount a group exhibition with artists related to the North being in an important moment in history where beautifully restored museums and exciting new exhibition venues presents excellent opportunities to investigating new forms for communicating contemporary art, for foreign artists to present their practice locally and to introduce their way of practice to enrich the Georgian cultural scene.

The exhibiton and semniar is produced by Snowball Cultural Productions in collaboration with CCA – Center for Contemporary Art Tbilisi with the support of Norden - Nordic Culture Fund, The Swedish Arts Council, The Danish Arts Council, FRAME – Visual Art Finland


Anders Smebye, NO
Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir & Mark Wilson, IS/UK
Elin Wikström in Collaboration with Denis Romanovski, SE
Eva Koch, DK
Josefina Posch, SE
Lars Laumann, NO
Leslie Johnson, SE
Sasha Huber, SF


Exhibition Curator Wato Tsereteli
Organisation Curators Josefina Posch & Leslie Johnson
Assistant Gala Eristavi


" The Expanding Role of the Artist as Entrepreneur "
Friday March 8th & Saturday March 9th
9.30am - 5pm

The seminar is open to the public and free of charge.

In recent years the state support for independent artists has changed drastically. In Nordic lands the traditional state fundings are slowly shrinking and artists as well as cultural arenas are being pushed towards private sponsorship while there is actually not a tradition for this nor a network or base for private funding of art projects especially with regard to grants supporting work and living costs—and recent cut-backs in the UK and the Netherlands confirm this as a reality that affects the cultural scenes of many European lands. Cultural institutions such as museums, and the education sector, have also faced budget cuts stifling the trickle down support which often was the funding for new works or initiatives by artists.

As this situation has existed since some time, artists and cultural workers have been developing ways of acting affirmatively in creating new situations for art and artists. Many artists became ”curators” regarding the mediation and dissemination of their practices as part of their role as artists -- collaborating with other artists in order to establish a place in the market, in the public sphere. The role of roles of curator and artist are now often combined and include initiation and management of projects, as well as inter-disciplinary communication. Hence there exist newly established independent arts organizers. (It is important to note that independent arts organizers is not a new phenomenon, but our project is focussed on organizations that have grown in the past 10 years which also work with the artistic area of relational aesthetics and site specific work—which often has direct contact with the public outside the normative venues of gallery and museum.)

The seminar ”The Expanding Role of the Artist as Entrepreneur” seeks to bring together some independent culture producers, established in the past decade, from a range of Nordic and European regional lands to exchange experiences, to share strategies with regard to financing and creating a public, and to establish contacts that can lead to mutual support and further development of cross Nordic as well as inter European projects. Some of the organizations are more ”grass-roots” than others and all have different modus operandi. Each organization will have a chance to share their vision, description of their funding structure and audience; to discuss aspects of entrepreneurship pertinent to the field of art, and present a summary of projects.


Bastard, NO
CCA-Tbilisi, GE
Kallio Kunsthalle, SF
Manymade, DK
Nýlo - The Living Art Museum, IS
Snowball Cultural Productions, SE
Supermarket Art Fair and Magazine, SE, DK

Center of Contemporary Art –Tbilisi (CCAT) is an independent, nonprofit organization. The main goal of CCA-Tbilisi is to support the development of contemporary art in Georgia and in Caucasus region as well. For a country with deeply rooted cultural traditions it is of crucial importance to have an independent and open institution, which will work on contextualization of contemporary visual culture and help Georgian and international artists to effectively present creative production to local and international audiences.

The center is acting as a hub in Georgia, linking and working with similar organizations around the world. We also aim to stimulate research in contemporary visual culture in Georgia and abroad. Our main research project is focused on art that was repressed in Soviet times and due to censorship largely forgotten. It is time for Georgia to start dealing with its troubled past and move on from there. CCA-Tbilisi intends to play important role in these processes.

The Center has four key activities: organizing professional exhibitions of interesting and innovating contemporary art work; educating motivated art students; conducting research of Georgian art and creating exchange opportunities of artists and curators with different partner institutions worldwide. We intend to make CCA-Tbilisi into a vital asset to the cultural life of Tbilisi.

Initiators and invited teachers at CCA-Tbilisi have 12 years of experience in organizing private art education. Wato Tsereteli, the director of CCA-Tbilisi, has proven his organizational skills, enthusiasm for art and persistence in setting up Tbilisi’s first and only photography institute

Image: Lars Laumann, Shut up Child, This Ain't Bingo (58 min) 2009, Courtesy Of Maureen Paley, London

Center for Contemporary Art - Tbilisi
10 D. Abashidze Str. - 0102 Tbilisi, Georgia

CologneOFF 2013 Georgia
dal 15/5/2013 al 17/5/2013

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