The exhibition of Olha Petrova “Tbilisi, My Love” that opened at the art gallery “Triptych Art” welcomed its guests and those, who decided to drop in passing by the place, with a real still life installed in the corner of the room. The candles burning in luxurious ripe pomegranates charmed with rigor similar to the character of Georgia and with the perfection of the form and content like the country’s centuries-old culture. These candles in pomegranates are like a bridge with which Olha linked the present day event with the year of 1972, when after the premiere of The Nutcracker staged with her decorations, the great maestro left a similar greeting on the doorstep of her apartment, recognizing her artistic talent. And above the quivering flames of the candles there was a portrait of truly free Chagall’s hero – Sergei Parajanov, one of the main characters of the artist’s exhibition.
Human and artistic diversity of Olha Petrova has long been known. Painter and a graphic artist, Ph.D. in Art and in Philosophy, she works productively as an artist, historian, theorist, and art critic. She’s had a countless number of exhibitions in all parts of the world, her works are represented in many museums and private collections. The creative achievements of the art historian and critic include 5 books and over 800 articles.
The exhibition, dedicated to Georgia, very solid on the emotional completeness and diverse in the manner of artistic presentation, features works, inspired not only by impressions, but also by personal memories of people, who at one time gave her a glimpse of the magic perception of this country.
That is why the concept of the exhibition also included the presentation of Petrova’s book, the name of which became the name of the exhibition. These are very personal, written with a light pen and pure heart memories of the great cinema and life magician – Sergei Parajanov and a true master of painting – Mykola Ihnatov.
Remembering the vivid scenes of the time spent with Parajanov, the author admiring his talent, his ability to see life and people, to suffer and rejoice, is, primarily, very tactful. Despite a long lasting friendship and numerous meetings she skillfully “keeps her distance”:
“I would not dare, after Parajanov’s death, put him in the circle of my friends. This would have been an obvious exaggeration. I was fine with the role of a ‘perfect fan.’”
Parajanov, just like Ihnatov, generously shared with Petrova the secrets of Georgian churches and museums, introduced her to different people, not only those who preserve the spiritual heritage of their ancestors, but also those, who open up their talent to the world. That’s why the portrait of Ihnatov is called I am Imagining All Your Work. The painting The Crown of Georgia depicting Jvari is made with generous sun strokes. Niko Pirosmani’s notes “resonate” in people on the streets – Shoemaker and Wine-Grower. Bloodcurdling scream Oh Gmerto! (Oh God!) – in blurred coloristics of a painting with the same name, inspired by the reflections by the grave stone, the last resting place of her favorite Koka Ihnatov.
Petrova creates many paintings in a light manner and keeps bright memories. But all of this should be seen and felt personally.
We must also add that the beautifully printed book Tbilisi, My Love has been published thanks to the great assistance of the STEDLEY ART Foundation. The readers would like to express special gratitude for that.