• Modern Art is pleased to announce our first exhibition of Karlo Kacharava’s work, curated by Sanya Kantarovsky and Scott Portnoy.

  • English Romanticism, 1992
  • Karlo Kacharava’s (1964-1994) short-lived yet oceanic body of work took shape in Tbilisi, Georgia against the backdrop of the loosening...

    Karlo Kacharava’s (1964-1994) short-lived yet oceanic body of work took shape in Tbilisi, Georgia against the backdrop of the loosening cultural boundaries afforded by the Glasnost-era Soviet Union of the 1980’s and the subsequent financial and political groundlessness of the post-Soviet 1990’s.


    His prolific output of drawing, painting, poetry and art criticism galvanized an orbit of young Georgian artists and thinkers, and continues to exert notable influence on emerging Georgian art in the present day. His inventive visual world frequently reflects an almost adolescent angst, punctuated by a fandom of a broad gamut of western culture ranging from the likes of Nick Cave and Susan Sontag to comic books and cinema. Yet there is something more specific to the project than fanning out. It’s as though the work - by reconstituting names and references for their glyphic, pictorial dimension - brings into sharp relief a nexus of desire, access, power and ownership. There is an articulated dissonance between the need to establish a ground of one’s own whilst acknowledging an anxiety of influence from a slowly leaking, sprawling, forbidden and exotic word centred on individual expression and self-actualization.


    The exhibition embraces a simultaneity of ensuing melancholy, curiosity and joy that runs a current throughout Kacharava’s beautifully painted surfaces, images and varied techniques. Themes of childhood, memory, history and love permeate images of vagabond couples, explorers, anarchists, philosophers, greyhound buses, sleeping friends, film heroines and teenagers. 


    Nearly 30 years after Kacharava’s tragic death at the age of 30 from a sudden brain aneurysm, his vision of expanding the boundaries of his discursive world and its audience is being realized. This exhibition marks the first comprehensive presentation of his work outside of Georgia, effectively serving as an introduction of his oeuvre to an expanded international audience.  

  • Gloria, 1991
  • "Kacharava’s paintings are often playful, smashing text and image together and playing around with the form of the picture plane, but they also have a sort of melancholy. Sentimental Journey (1993) – named for the Laurence Sterne novel, the Doris Day song, or neither – features variants of these characters and others in a grim wintry landscape." - Joe Lloyd, Studio International

  • Sentimental Journey, 1993
  • Fur Jorg Immendorf, 1985
  • Bible, 1987
  • Allain 2, 1990
  • England is Big, Sir, 1992
  • "Kacharava was a portal of information in a broken world, a Nietzschean bridge, a glorification of freedom, a burning desire to embrace the world as a whole and to be embraced by the world. This is why he dreamed of showing his work in London, a city that perhaps meant the world to him at the time." - Han Mengyun, Luncheon No.12



  • Engineer from 1930s, 1991
  • Dead, 1987
  • Mouchette, 1993
  • My Daughter is a Prison Ballerina, 1992
  • Abasha House, 1988
  • "In this survey his distinctive visual world is well explained through oil paintings that with their abject, spiky style, draw heavily from 'degenerate' German Expressionist artists such as George Grosz and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, as well as the Italian Transavanguardia." - Kabir Jhala, The Art Newspaper

  • PS to the General, 1990
  • Do you think so, 1993
  • Anarchist's Dream, 1992
  • Clown on the Roof, 1992
  • Karlo Carra, 1992
  • Anton, 1993
  • Perversion of Kings, 1993
  • "From Georgia, he named the country's literary luminaries, Vazha Pshavela and Ilia Chavchavadze. From abroad, he singled out the work of Albert Camus, American beat poet Allen Ginsberg, French writer and surrealist André Breton, and Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini. He had a mapgpie-like instinct for anything new. One small example is the appearance of singer Nick Cave's name on one of Kacharava's works, now on display in the Modern Art show. The painting dates from 1992, when the now famous, Australian-born musician was still faily obscure, even in the West. But Kacharava got hold of a cassette nonetheless." - Andrew North, The Calvert Journal

  • Nick Cave, 1992
  • Armchair, 1989
  • Portrait, 1991
  • Fur Dich, 1993
  • Susan Sontag, 1992
  • Irena Ilona Bus, 1992
  • Father and Daughter, 1992
  • Twombly, 1989
  • Demand Everywhere, 1990
  • Crisis Chronicle, 1987
  • Fur Patrick Modiano, 1992
  • Alice, 1994
  • Portrait of a Girl, 1993
  • Dream 2, 1983
  • Dream, 1983
  • Fable About Not Yet, 1992