From 1970 to 1976, Levan Choghoshvili studied at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts. He has been an unofficial artist since 1973. This is a period when Academy of Fine Arts students, including art historians, form groups with common interests. Levan Choghoshvili, Dimitri Tumanishvili, and Giorgi Marjanishvili form such a group. Choghoshvili has been participating in unofficial exhibitions with other unofficial artists since 1976: in the sister’s apartment of Valerian Sidamon-Eristavi (1976), in the hall of the Theater Society (so-called Stella) (1977-1978), and in the exhibition space of Saburtalo Medical Clinic (1979). Before that, Levan Choghoshvili’s counter-composition develops a conceptual, artistic-intellectual, historical-political confrontation with the Soviet ideological environment and artistic reality. Before that, Levan Choghoshvili’s counter-composition develops a conceptual, artistic-intellectual, and historical-political confrontation with the Soviet ideological environment and artistic reality. In 1972, the artist began his first series of paintings on the theme of power and eroticism, “Venus and Marx,” which he completed in 1993. He created his most renowned series, Paintings from Photographs, Pictures from Photographs, even earlier, in 1973, when he intentionally used annexation-pre-Soviet documents and family photographs. Simultaneously, he started working on the first version of “The Assassination of Zurab of Eristavi of Aragvi” in 1975, a new version of which he completed in 1983. This is how historical time and the character appears in Levan Choghoshvili’s oeuvre – 17th-century Georgia, when the interests of Iran, the Ottoman Empire, and Russia clashed, and Zurab Eristavi, a contradictory historical figure, had a pivotal part in determining the country’s fate.
Choghoshvili’s choice of this key historical event foretold his art’s future direction. The series “Destroyed Aristocracy” (1973-1989) is polystyrene because it unites different creative methods: Tbilisi, Kajar portrait, Arabic, Persian, Armenian miniature, Polish-Sarmatian, Early Scottish portrait, and the language of modernism, etc. Humans in this series, commonly, earthly humans, exist “in timelessness” as Dimitri Tumanishvili writes, as a result, Choghoshvili appears to “cancel time.” These pictures, which were not available for viewing in exhibition galleries until 1985, are far from historical.
Curiously, the artist is using the photographs as a fountainhead. We would like to reference Dimitri Tumanishvili’s words again: “If most creators view their responsibility in the objectification of the subjective for several centuries, Levan Choghoshvili is a follower of the subjective sensation of the objective”