With painting as her main medium Rusudan Melikishvili examines and explores themes and relations between subjects such as gender, body and femininity. Her works are based on some of humankind’s long lasting existential and psychological questions about birth, life, sexuality and mortality.
Rusudan Melikishvili has exhibited work at The Lviv National Art Gallery and the Hungarian National Museum, among others.
On Rusudan Melikishvilis’ art
Written by Nina Hobolth, Art historian, Master of Arts and Former Director of Aalborg Museum of Modern Art. September 2019.

​​​​​​​It is generally known that we possess five senses. Sight is of course the foremost of these when it comes to appreciating visual art. But counting, I would barely arrive at the number three before Rusudan’s art would swallow me up, to the extent that I experience it as a physical sensation. Those large, eloquent strokes of the brush, those explosive compositions and movements of color pull the viewer into the universe of her canvas.
It is possible to see Rusudan’s growing mastery of large compositions over the last ten years. They seem to have been painted out of sheer impulsiveness, without a preliminary sketch or draft. But it is the virtuosity of painterly execution that allows them to convey such an overwhelming directness. The range of colors has changed over the years from heavy blood red, lilac and charcoal grey basic tones through a steadily lighter and more spectral palette, via lighter blues, violets and greens to an almost transparent range of hues as in the New York work, which encompasses blue, turquoise, yellow and brown.
The theme seems on the whole to have stayed the same: it focuses on drawing forth a balance between an abstract idiom and certain recognizable, figurative elements. In the space that is thus created, fragments of bodies lurch around in an unfathomable mix of stomach, thighs, buttocks and genitals. In a thoroughly unique way, Rusudan depicts a physical proximity that is on the one hand aggressively erotic and violent, and on the other fades out into a mystical, evocative darknesses.
The series of blood-red paintings from ca 2010 onwards are constructed as if a centrifugal force is flinging bodies and colors out and away from the center of the image – whose resulting 'emptiness’ makes the outer edges of the plane all the more dramatic. A sequence of round or oval, smaller formats from ca 2015 appear like a series of experiments in color and composition, where everything – clouds, birds, erotic vignettes and purely abstract motifs – can float. The latest paintings are lighter, more brilliant and strongly diagonal in their composition. Green and blue suggest forest and sky. The most recent, transparent, New York paintings seem to be delicate sanctuaries, where “luxury, calm and sensuousness reign”.
The New York stay has inspired Rusudan to create a new type of expressiveness, to use a new color palette and to create new compositions. Here, erotica is less ambiguous, more hedonistic... and decadent? I once heard someone say that “New York is so physical”: and yes, there is another atmosphere there, a raw reality, the pulse of the living moment and a vitality and diversity that differs from northern Europe. Rusudan, who came to Copenhagen from Georgia, was certainly not about to attempt conformity or be swallowed up in the European tradition of painting in her years at the Kunstakademi (the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts) and beyond. There has been no such natural course of adaptation for her in relation to European contemporary art or art history. She has (fortunately) retained her singular dynamic throughout the years of her sojourn in Denmark. Her shapes are not made with, but reside in, her brush strokes. But where has she been able to look for new inspiration? Who has inspired her here? I am thinking of the London School, including Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, and I also have the Baroque artists such as Rubens and Jordaens (who certainly features large at the National Gallery of Denmark - SMK) in mind. Yet Rusudan occupies a special place in contemporary art and among her peers, even though there are many outstanding painters among her generation.
To visit the US and New York is to encounter American expressionism, Pollock and de Kooning – and, a distinctive painter whose work lies between abstraction and the figurative: Philip Guston. New York also brings the art lover into contact with European art, so highly valued by the Americans. In particular, Matisse and Picasso. What, I wonder can we ever know about how a painter's approach is engendered, and what inspires him or her alter it? Rusudan’s convictions are as strong as ever, whilst her painting is still receptive to new impressions. The momentum is always there, there is no fixed formula for her. Rusudan's brush strokes buzz with energy and a narrative strength, wherein some things can be decoded, though much remains unknown. Body and soul, we are thrown into her artistic universe.
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