The Art of Seeing—States of Astronomy

The Art of Seeing—States of Astronomy

Georgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Fabien Chaminade, Study for a Constellation of Stargazers, 2024. Digital composition based on archival materials. Courtesy of the artist.

February 1, 2024
The Art of Seeing—States of Astronomy
April 20–November 24, 2024
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Pre-opening: April 17–19
Georgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

The Georgian Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale is happy to present Art of Seeing—States of Astronomy, a collaborative project presented by a team of Georgian and French curators and artists.

The Art of Seeing—States of Astronomy showcases 65 Maximiliana or the Illegal Practice of Astronomy, a 1964 work by Georgian artist, poet and editor Ilia Zdanevich (1894–1975) and Max Ernst (1891–1976), along with its related archives. The art book is dedicated to Wilhelm Ernst Tempel (1821–1889), a German astronomer and lithographer, known for his unconventional, sensual approach to astronomy, who was overlooked by contemporaries due to his lack of academic training.

Zdanevich traced his own history back to Tbilisi, where his publishing house, named “41 degrees” after the latitude Tbilisi shares with Rome, Madrid, New York and other cities, promoted a futurist poetic language known as “ZAUM.” He adopted the name Iliazd soon after emigrating to Paris in 1921 and brought out several major books, including Maximiliana, a landmark project that spans four countries and three languages, merging poetry and astronomy to highlight the experience of exiles in both physical and metaphysical senses.

In this context, the exhibition held at Palazzo Palumbo Fossati aligns with the theme of the current Venice Biennale, “Foreigners Everywhere”. It spins around Maximiliana, along with materials from Iliazd’s archive, that document Iliazd’s journey to Venice and Marseille and his persistent efforts to recover Wilhelm Ernst Tempel’s biography.

In response to the Venice Biennale’s programme “Global Modernisms”, curator Julia Marchand (France) and research curator Davit Koroshinadze (Georgia) have crafted an original concept for a living archive, initiating the audience to Iliazd’s experiments, who brought his ideas from the Global South and transformed it into a cosmopolitan discourse. Maximiliana remains a perfect example of how, through typography and painting, the language of the cosmos was brought to life. French artists Rodrigue De Ferluc and Juliette George have created unique furniture inspired by Iliazd’s typography in Maximiliana to establish a visual and spatial identity for the exhibition. Georgian artist Nika Koplatadze reinterprets Maximiliana through a contemporary art lens in a series of artistic books informed by his readings of star maps and other cosmic matters. In addition, Grigol Nodia’s video art, titled Lonely Planet, turns the theme of migration into a broader, cosmic exile in search of the other and eros.

Wilhelm Ernst Tempel’s lithographs from the Arcetri Observatory Archives, included in the exhibition, provide a unique context for understanding the history behind Maximiliana and Iliazd’s journey.

Artists: Nikoloz Koplatadze, Grigol Nodia, Juliette George, Rodrigue De Ferluc, Iliazd, Max Ernst, Wilhelm Ernst Tempel
Curator: Julia Marchand
Research curator: Davit Koroshinadze
Commissioner: Magda Guruli
Institution: Art-Villa Garikula
Project Manager: Ana Jorjiashvili
Furniture Production: Collaboration with Interior Designer Nestan De Limur
Graphic Designer: Fabien Chaminade
Set Designer: Levan Mekhuzla
Composer: Ben Wheeler
Film Producer & Production Designer: Lasha Zambakhidze

With the support of The Ministry of Culture and Sport of Georgia.

Press contacts
International press enquiries: Nadia Fatnassi, nadia [​at​], T +33 652 086 908
Italian press enquiries: Virginia Cucchi, [​at​], T +39 333 4360901

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Georgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
February 1, 2024

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