What inspires your work? Do you think of dreams and memories while you are making your images?
Usually, I am not aware of what inspired me until the end, but it can be sparked by anything that allows me to think about how cultures come together – how our nature can be informed with so much love and sorrow at once. We are constantly connected to the present and part of us is connected to centuries. In that respect, I have been building a vocabulary of images from memories new and old, from my immediate environments and from nature in order to tap into emotions and fantasies and work out certain patterns. I have learned that art-making for me is a more liberating activity if I try not to think about past or childhood – to be in the here and in the now, yet these things inevitably surface.
Impressions from Rustaveli is inspired by the 12th century Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli, whose epic poem The Knight in Panther’s Skin is considered a masterpiece of Georgia’s national literature. The poem is dedicated to King Tamara, the first female ruler of the Kingdom of Georgia at the height of its power in the Middle Ages, and is a chivalric romance which nonetheless emphatically affirms equality between women and men.Georgian artist Nana Tchitchoua’s film reinvigorates Rustaveli’s writings, infusing them in a film collage with painting, drawing, costume and the performative cinematic language of filmmakers like Sergei Parajanov and Jack Smith. Actors in both traditional and ornamental costume gesture to the camera, frontally posed and holding objects, or otherwise interacting with each other while frame separations, solarisations and other analogue film techniques produce blurry, overlapping, impressionistic images. The filmmaker describes the work as a “glorification of love, beauty, friendship and nobility. It portrays the heroes and heroines whose radiant loveliness is represented in terms of bright celestial light”. A ghastly quality of image emerges, with actors’ bodies haloed with bright light.What emerges in Tchitchoua’s exotic, Byzantine images is an encounter between Western and Eastern cultures. Impressions from Rustaveli is more than a simple adaptation of a folk legend, the film expresses through image, sound, erotics and emotion what can’t quite be represented by words or painting. The language of the film is light in all its beauty and complication.
In the Presence of Absence – Introduction by H.W. MacDonald
The Dream Corridors are a philosophical idea belonging to a collective of artists known as the “Last Night Dreamers.” This collective was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 2011 by artist Nanuka Tchitchoua and her team of artistic and inventive collaborators. The Dream Corridors are a fictitious location where the dreams of living beings exist without interruption or disturbance. It is a place where dreams can be accessed, stored, created or left behind. The Dream Corridors begin in the mysterious parts of the body or brain where psychological and neurological forces are at work. The Corridors have no end. The conceived hallway extends from the body of the living being out into open space and the imagination. It is an abstract place with a strong, definitive identity.
It is tempting to think of Utopia as the penultimate expression of civilization, but as originally coined by Sir Thomas More, it was never meant to denote an actual place, but specifically refers to a non-existent fictional island society. Literally “No-Place”, it is a satire reflecting our troubles, inverting our destructive nature.