Levan Choghoshvili (born in 1953) studied at the Tbilisi State Art Academy in 1970-1976.
Since 1973, he has become an unofficial artist. This is the time when the young students of the Academy of Arts create groups united by common interests, the groups included art historians as well. Such is the group of Levan Choghoshvili, Dimitri Tumanishvili and Giorgi Marjanishvili.
Together with other unofficial artists, Choghoshvili has been participating in unofficial exhibitions since 1976: In the apartment of Valerian Sidamon-Eristavi’s sister (1976), in the hall of the theater society (AKA Stella) (1977-1978), in the exhibition space of Saburtalo Medical Clinic (1979), etc. Before that, the counterposition of Levan Choghoshvili is being formed – an artistic-intellectual, historical-political conceptual confrontation with the Soviet ideologized environment and artistic reality.
As early as 1972, the artist begins to create his first series of artworks on the theme of power and eroticism – “Venus and Mar(x)s”, which he completed in 1993. In 1978, he creates so-called “Apartment” artwork with the concept of ephemera – an object that is present today will disappear or change tomorrow. Even earlier, from 1973, his most famous series is created, the so-called paintings from photos, where he deliberately uses annexation-pre-Soviet documents – family photographs.
At the same time, in 1975, he created the first version of “The Killing of Zurab I, Duke of Aragvi”, and later, in 1983, he completed a new version. This is how the historical time and character enters Levan Choghoshvili’s work – Georgia of the 17th century, when the interests of Iran, Ottomans and Russia were in conflict with each other, and Zurab Eristavi – a contradictory historical character, played his role in deciding the fate of the country at this difficult time.
The choice of this key historical event actually showed where Choghoshvili’s work would go in the future. The series “Destroyed Aristocracy” (1973-1989) is polystylistic because it combines different artistic methods into one whole: Tbilisian, Qajar portrait, Arabic, Persian, Armenian miniature, Polish Sarmatian, early Scottish portrait, language of modernism and etc.
People in this series are ordinary, earthly and as Dimitri Tumanishvili describes, they exist in “timelessness”, by this Choghoshvili seems to “cancel time”. These artworks, once could not enter the exhibition halls until 1985, are far from historicism. It is interesting that the artist uses photographs as the primary source for them. We’ll use Dimitri Tumanishvili’s phrase again: “If for several centuries, the majority of creators see their duty in the objectification of the subjective, Levan Choghoshvili is a supporter of subjectively experiencing the objective.”