Project ArtBeat

 Handler

John Riepenhoff

Project ArtBeat gallery and TBC Status are  pleased to present an exhibition of John Riepenhoff, prominent American painter and 9 Georgian artists of different generations, Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, Levan Chogoshvili, Mamuka Japharidze, Tamo Jugeli, Nino Kvrivishvili, Sergei Parajanov(presented by Gamrekeli gallery, from Khatuna Melikishvili’s private collection), Ninutsa Shatberashvili, Leila Shelia and Zura Tsofurashvili(presented by Center for Contemporary Arts Georgia), who have been invited by the artist to collaborate with him on the exhibition. Riepenhoff whose artistic and curatorial practice’s main focus is creating a platform to show work by others and collaborating will be exhibiting his Handler series for the first time in Georgia.

Handler series act as illusionary sculptural easels that hold other artists’ work.They use the form of the lower half of Riepenhoff's body as portrait of the unseen support of art handlers, gallerists, patrons, friends, family, and employees of institutions.This project is the embodiment of the support structure for artists and the presence of the artist/curator occupying the role of both. The Handler series uses sculpture as a platform to promote and reframe artwork, exposes the unseen supports built into art systems, suggests a visual metaphor for transport and object circulation, and critically refocuses the values of production and authorship.

“When I first met John in Miami December 2018 while both of us were exhibiting at NADA Miami I was amazed how John’s practice even as an artist was focused on giving a platform to others, supporting his local surroundings and mainly collaborating. All these being very dear to me and my way of living I decided to invite John to come and do a show in Georgia at Project ArtBeat to which he agreed to my greatest pleasure. For me the main aim was for John to himself invite the artists without much knowledge of the Georgian art scene and its existing networks. I am happy to see the result of three weeks of working on the show in Tbilisi and John meeting and seeing as many in the field as possible. For me the most important thing is that John managed to involve many people and turn this exhibition into a true collaboration project: one piece of work exhibited is a collaboration between two artists, Ketuta Alexi Meskhishvili and Levan Chogoshvili, one of the sculptures is being managed by CCA who will be rotating the works during two months of the exhibition, Edisher who was helping John with the production of the sculptures is also contributing with writing a piece about the exhibition and for the idea of including a historical work, I am inviting another gallery, Gamrekeli gallery, which symbolically is also our neighbour. What I hope is that this act of acquaintance and collaboration happening from both sides can be expanded even further than this one time exhibition”. -Natia Bukia, Project ArtBeat co-founder.