In February 2012, Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Modern Art opened at #27 Rustaveli Ave. in Tbilisi In the history of Georgia and Tbilisi at the turn of the 20th century the Tbilisi Cadet Corps is of special interest. Many eminent figures of Russia and Georgia have graduated from this prestigious educational institution. In 1909 , the Cadet Corps obtained a new building – an exquisite two-storey mansion with wings and an inner courtyard occupying almost an entire quarter and overlooking three streets.
The Tbilisi Cadet Corps has become a speciamen of high standards of training, upbringing and financial support of interns. After 1917, the mansion’ s fate was rather dramatic: the house suffered devastation, destruction of the interior.
Decoration and a period of communal life – in various times the building was occupied by the Institute of Electro-Technical Equipment, a dormitory, children’s kindergarten and bank. By the early 2000s the mansion had almost completely lost its original feature – in complete decay were the interiors, the inner courtyard and overlapping structures.
In 2005, Zurab Tsereteli initiated a restoration and reconstruction of the mansion for the arrangement of a museum space. The main creative idea was a synthesis of history and modern times implying a preservation of the building’s original design and the use of innovative architectural and engineering possibilities consistent with a museum of world repute, that is a usual practice in European countries when new museums are created in historical buildings. This goal has been brilliantly executed by the noted architect Givi Metreveli, construction engineer David Pirtskhalaishvili and designer Niya Mgaloblishvili.
The Museum starts its activity with the first in Georgia solo show of Zurab Tsereteli, the People’s Artist of the USSR, Russian Federation and Georgia, President of the Russian Academy of Arts, Corresponding Member of the French Academy of fine Arts (Paris) and San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Madrid), UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Modern Art is a 3-storey exhibition space. For the development of modern Georgian art, a separate exhibition hall has been allotted in the museum for exhibition of the pieces of "XXI century modern Georgian fine art", the participants in which will be not only Georgian artists, but also those, invited from abroad. The Museum presents the average of 12 exhibition projects per year.
Separate space has been allotted in the Museum for a conference hall, as well as for various events, presentations and evenings dedicated to arts and not only.
The exposition shows all the genres and stages of the artist’s creative work. The focus of the display is his monumental composition ‘’ Argonauts’’ (2005), as well as series ofhis graphic sheets of the same name where the mythology, ethnography, history, art and culture of ancient nations are closely intertwined .
The theme is continued in the monumental composition ‘’Apple’’ (2003) produced by Zurab Tsereteli especially for Tbilisi and placed in the inner open air courtyard of the museum. This work is a replica of his well-known spatial object in the Museum and Exhibition Complex of the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow. This unique engineering structure, 9m high and 9m in diameter, contains 145 bronze high reliefs forming a single composition. Also in the courtyard is a restaurant lounge "Academy".
The introduction to the second floor is his sculptural composition “My Favorite Artists”: “Pirosmani and Rousseau” „Malevich“, „Kandinsky“ ,,From the Townspeople series’’ and “Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Chagall and Van Gogh”(3 floor). It is the acquaintance with the work of these great masters that forever connected Zurab Tsereteli with art. The exposition also includes over one hundred paintings of different periods, created by Zurab Tsereteli.The naïve and folk art, discoveries of the French postimpressionists and artists of Russian avant-garde have become a foundation for the development of his creative world outlook and formation of his individual manner and style.
Over one hundread paintings feature the evolution of Zurab Tsereteli’s art for almost 50 years: from sketches and and small genre compositions to monumental canvases, where the master relizes his vision of the decorative possibilities of contemporary figurative art, as well as tries to find new angles of a psychological portrait of his contemporaries, images full of existential content.
The Museum’s display contains works created by Zurab Tsereteli in Brazil, France, Georgia, Russia and in many other countries of the world. Many of them have been exhibited in his solo shows in Paris(2010); Rome, Palermo and Ancona(2011)
A special photo-section of the exhibition, which is presented on the third floor, is devoted to the artist’s history of life, in which integral parts are his moments of creativity, meetings with ordinary people and celebrities, his life in the circle of his family, contacts with colleagues, feasts and friendly relations with distinguished figures of art, science, culture and politics, who like Zurab Tsereteli have created the history of the 20-th century and continue to make it today.
The solo show totals more than 300 works of art executed by Zurab Tsereteli in various genres and techniques, as well as 250 photographs from his private collection.
Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Modert Art meets the XXI century modern world-class standards and will serve as a bridge on the path of rapprochement of the modern Georgian and foreign artists.