Frieze New York 2020 | Vera Pagava

Vera Pagava (Born in 1907 in Tbilisi, Georgia) emigrated to Paris in 1923 following her families exile from Soviet occupied Georgia. Paris had a great influence to the artist who became deeply involved with the artistic milieu and avant-garde of the time. Pagava explored an active freeing of the self from formal representations in both life and work, breaking down the meanings of both her identity as a female artist and her background from her hometown. As she neither liked to be defined as a female nor Georgian artist exclusively. This categorisation, manifesting as figuration within her work, was left behind with a turning point from the early 1960‘s towards abstraction as a means to find this escape. Pagava was known for her experimentation within abstract motives, still lives, portrayals of nature, buildings and her ethereal representation of reality which had a distinct softness in palette and touch. While the titles of her paintings evoked real places, their presence went beyond identification, a constant oscillation between pure abstraction and representation. The artist gained international recognition following a successful exhibition along side Dora Maar at the Jeanne Bucher Gallery in 1944 and later participation in the 33rd edition of the Venice Biennale in 1966 in which she represented France in a separate pavilion. Considering Pagava's earlier works alongside her later works, one witnesses how her practice became increasingly mysterious, as the surfaces and contours of her forms began to float freely from any obvious narrative or meaning encompassed instead in subjacent light and colour. Our presentation will mainly focus on paintings from the 70s alongside several earlier works. Two rare works from her still life period from 1935 and 1940, a landscape work from 1962 and a work from 1963 presenting the transitional stages of her practice.