With a large body of work mainly comprising mixed-media paintings, Tamuna Sirbiladze was known for her distinctive style, which continually forged new terms between dichotomous relationships. Abstract and figurative, playful and serious, energetic and quiet, vibrant and muted, Sirbiladze’s work is characterized by both its intensity and flexibility.
Known for the speed at which she worked, there is a quality of immediacy in her paintings, as if they provide direct access to her imagination. This primacy is perhaps most evident in her gestural, improvisatory paintings made with oil sticks on unstretched, raw canvas, which purposely retain the appearance of being unfinished. “As an artist,” Sirbiladze writes, “I don’t want to control what the representation will be seen as.” This catalogue presents a careful selection of these oil stick works along with her other paintings—including her celebrated V Collection (2012), which was made in dialogue with iconic works by Caravaggio, Giotto, Raphael, and Velazquez, as well as her later paintings focused on women’s bodies in intimate, underrepresented scenes, Sirbiladze’s response to male dominance in the art world.
With contributions by Max Henry, Anna Kats, and Julie Ryan, as well as a conversation with the artist and an arrangement of fifteen sonnets by her partner, Benedikt Ledebur, this publication provides a comprehensive survey of Sirbiladze’s works and practice.
Sirbiladze “painted her pictures quickly but with clear visual intent… The paintings are powerful in their play-off between bright lightness and a mood of disgust.”
– Matthew Collings, London Evening Standard
“What is striking about Sirbiladze’s pictures are the reductions of her colour palette, which not only set the boundary conditions for her compositions but, in part, also determine the possibilities of their semantic and analytical interpretation.”