Georgian artist Petre Otskheli’s artworks to be restored
01 July, 2017
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This year, Georgian society marks the 110th anniversary of Petre Otskheli, one of the founders of Georgian modernism and stagecraft, as well as an outstanding theatrical artist.

As a result of mutual cooperation between TBC Bank and Georgian Art Palace, historical project is implemented within which TBC Bank provides conservation and restoration of Otskheli’s 30 works.

The restoration works will be performed on the Otskheli's decorative and costume sketches, the paintings made during his life as a student and other works that are unknown to Georgian public.

Petre Otskheli's contribution to Georgian stagecraft is immeasurable. He dedicated his short life to the theater. At 20 he designed the Lunacharsky's play "Firestarters" at the Tbilisi’s Workers’ Theater, after which Kote Marjanishvili was delighted by the sketches. He saw a rare talent in the young artist, who was superbly feeling the scenic space, the colors, the light shadows. The great director, then decided to invite Petre Otskhkeli to his theater in Kutaisi.

In 1937, at the age of 30, the Bolshevik authorities arrested Otskheli, later executing him. His career lasted only nine years, but this time was enough for him to design 28 performances, out of which 21 were staged. Most of these performances were entered into Georgian treasury.
The Director of the Art Palace, Giorgi Kalandia told that the works that were restored were not paid due attention. This project is unprecedented and aims to save the unique and well-known works of Peter Otskheli.

Giorgi Kalandia: "Petre Otskheli's collection is undergoing an unprecedented conservation and restoration process, because these paintings have never been restored before. Besides, during Soviet times, these paintings were not paid much attention and so we have decided to prepare a very interesting project for this collection to survive.

For the jubilee we will get the result that unique and landing works of Petre Otskheli will be presented to the Georgian society as perfect and modern contemporary standards are required.

- Which work would you like to emphasize the most?

- Among Petre Otskheli’s works, the best known one is "Flying Painter". It became one of the leading exhibits of the Google Cultural Institute’s exhibition. As a result of restoration, we got to see a lot of unknown works that were covered under a layer of cartons, and so viewers will see many interesting works for this anniversary jubilee.

- When will the restoration be completed?

The process of restoration is a complex, long and laborious case. We have calculated that we will finish closer to the end of September. However, the restoration does not work quickly and often goes beyond the deadline. The process may continue longer, if we decide so.

Tamar Kirvalidze, Corporate Communications Director of "TBC Bank", notes that TBC's involvement in similar projects like restoration of old masterpieces and discovering new talents is one of the main directions. Petre Otskheli's creation is so unique and it is obvious that the society needs to get to know it better.

TBC's involvement in art-related projects, support, discovering new talents and restoration has become one of our main directions. If you remember, there was a Pirosmani exhibition at TBC space, where two works were restored, and such exhibitions have already acquired educational function.

Beside the fact that this is not just an exhibition, the students were very actively involved, with groups containing 20 people during two months. We've done a special animation that tells the story of Pirosmani in the language that is easily understandable for children.

With this format and more diverse types of communications we would like to see Peter Otskheli's works become more well-known to broad audience than it is now. We are proud to have such a project this particular year, when we are celebrating 110 years since Otskheli’s birth and 25th anniversary of TBC Bank", - Tamar Kirvalidze says.

It should be noted that the renovators of the art palace are witnessing many innovations in the work process. According to them, it is interesting to work with sketches of well-known performances such as "Otelo", "Flying Painter", etc.
Georgian painter Elene Akhvlediani and Petre Otskheli

Author: Nana Mghebrishvili

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