(caucasusartmag.com) “Ulysses” by Guram Tsibakhashvili tells us a story of two cities. Or rather translates one into another`s language.
Dublin on the brink of the XX century – the capital of colonial Ireland, and Tbilisi of 90’s, to which the expectation of national independence has finally come true…
"Dear dirty Tbilisi” – as once Dublin was for James Joyce. . Anatomic shapes move, eat, laugh, sing and dance on the background of gloomy post-soviet landscapes, inhuman architecture (De Chirico would be envious), naked electro equipment, communication and canalization tubes... Vicious book “Ulysses” is - messing up a mind just as the chivalric novels did to Don Quixote. Guram once said: "After Ulysses my perception of the world has changed"… The perception is everything for the photographer: "The inevitable modality of the visible" – this flash of Aristotelian meaning in Stephen Dedalus’s consciousness, drives us to Guram’s modality of vision. It’s marginal; his world has neither hierarchical order nor the compounding axis of the whole system. Everything is equal facing everything. The detail exists as the whole and the marginal gets in the center of attention. The stream of consciousness flows as the spontaneous visual impressions. The photography is a static genre – it has intended to freeze the time in the present space. No shot from Tsibakhashvili’s photos follows this principle. I have no idea how, but in these pictures even most sustainable things are dynamic and keep on flowing. Thus Joyce’s “stream of consciousness” principle is being adapted by the “photo-stream of consciousness.”
Guram’s vision is that of some lizard – peripheral. Some photos look like they were seen with the inverted eye, an eye of a lizard sitting on the rock. This lizard lives at the cemetery. It seems like the whole photo series carries the spirit of Joycean “Hades” episode. Everything wears the mask of death in these pictures. In an urban environment death has the citizenship of its own: It is no more the resurrection phase as in hunter-gatherer cultures. Death in the city first of all is a natural and unique phenomenon which involves equally everyone in its macabre dance named Farandole. Exactly, a Photo-Farandole is being created by Guram… The stream of faces bespeaks the transitory nature of the faces; moreover -- these individual faces bespeak their own transitory nature.
I would label Guram’s vision as “photo-writing” – i.e. the compound term “photography” acquires its literal meaning in this case. From one side he illustrates urban textual environment: street paintings, agendas, achromatic posters, epitaphs... And from another every photo is followed by a quote from Ulysses - with the obvious mismatching: this is not the illustration of the novel by Joyce, but the merging, attaching, annexing of two texts -- a citation, or more precisely -- “de-citation” due to that very mismatching… Such is Guram’s photo-grammatology (if you can excuse this Derridaism of mine) punct