War from my Window

1991-1992, Tbilisi

Thirteen black and white photography on the aluminium

1-12 images: 33cm x 50cm
13 image: 50cm x 33cm

Edition 3/4 +2 AP

Dedicated to my mother.

In the late 1980s early 1990s, small, meaningless civil wars broke out across the former Soviet Union.

“The War from my Window” is a series of twelve black and white photographs made during the war fought in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The work suggests four main aspects. Every day, the camera was placed in front of the same scene, its lens pointing at government headquarters, sometimes moving slightly to the left, sometimes to the right.

The timing of these shots has the effect of bringing the spectator into the emotional climate of twelve days that coincide exactly with the Twelve Days of Christmas, since the war began on 24 December 1991 and ended on 6 January 1992. The way in which the photographer has chosen to record events enables him to avoid deliberately dramatic compositions or a chronological narrative of military operations. The urban landscape, in black and white, as if enveloped in a leaden curtain, takes the spectator’s attention away from the details of those operations and forces him or her to concentrate on the moods of nature, the season, and the city. In this way the progress of war does not appear to be central, but part of a dialectical process. Even in a physical since, fighting took place in the centre of the city, and in other neighbourhoods everyday life went on us usual; shops, cafes, cinemas and other public places remained open, people went to work and came home.

The outcome of this civil war, which began on 24 December 1991 and lasted twelve days, was the overthrow of the government of Zviad Gamsakhurdia. The window from which the photographs were taken looks straight at government headquarters, around which the fighting raged. Photographing from the window was a metaphor for the indifference that the majority of the city’s inhabitants showed towards these events.

Photos and text: Koka Ramishvili

In Show

“A Window on the World”, From Durer to Mondrian and Beyond, Museo d’Art Lugano. 2012

“To See the Demension”, Cataloque, Kunsthalle, Lund, 2011

“The Melancholy of Resistance”, Center of Contemporary Art, in Tourin, Poland, 2011 “Europe at Large”, MKHA, Museum of contemporary Art, Antverpen, 2010

“Perforated Cinema”, Koka Ramishvili, Galerie Mitterrand+Sanz, 2009

“Progresive Nostalgia”. CAC, Luigi Pecci Prato. Italy. 2007

Post Soviet photography, Tate Modern, London, 2006