Ministry of Highway. A Guide to the Performative Architecture of Tbilisi

The publication accompanies the exhibition of the Georgian Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia titled “Kamikaze Loggia,” curated by Joanna Warsza.

Once described as “Italy gone Marxist,” Georgia, located in both an advantageous and vulnerable geopolitical position between the Black Sea, Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East, enjoys a Mediterranean climate and viniculture in combination with a community-oriented and self-determined spirit. Its informal, vernacular, and palimpsestic architecture — reflected in the stunning former Ministry of Highways erected in 1975 — reveals the uncanny anticipatory and progressive potential of a place where the past is neither monumentalized nor destroyed, but built upon. Taking the exhibition “Frozen Moments: Architecture Speaks Back” (2010) as its starting point, this guidebook maps the social, urban, and art discourses of the country’s post-Soviet years as seen from its hilly capital of Tbilisi.