Posted: 11 months ago

Project ArtBeat: Daily Routine of Georgian Artist Tamo Jugeli During Covid-19

Project ArtBeat is a contemporary art gallery based in Tbilisi. They've decided to ask artists what their daily routine is like during the pandemic and how the respond it creatively. Gallery Artbeat interviewed Georgian artist, Tamo Jugeli.

Can you tell us about your daily routine during COVID-19?

Since my daily life before COVID-19 was almost the same as now in self-isolation, my routine has not changed dramatically, except that my working time in my studio decreased, but it’s more likely result of my current mental state rather than the circumstances. Most of the time I’m completely indifferent, I am neither anxious nor have any hopes, because if one day you feel hopeful, in a moment you will read something devastating in news, that will crush all your hopes. That’s why I think my brain created a defensive mechanism and paused my consciousness. I have shifted totally in the position of an observer and just patiently waiting for the ending of this period.

How have the unforeseen circumstances affected/inspired your artistic practice and how have you chosen to respond creatively?

I wasn’t inspired by this situation in any sense, maybe even the contrary… I’ve never sought any inspiration or run after it. Creativity for me means hard work, discipline, and routine in my studio. Unfortunately, the virus has affected my daily access of the studio. In the beginning, I felt guilty that I couldn’t work as much as before COVID-19. It was unusual to get used to this new routine, all I did was staring into the void, I couldn’t watch films, neither read. Whenever I painted I was so disappointed I instantly regretted it. So, I put everything on hold and let myself “watch into nothingness” without feeling guilty. Now I know that some days I am able to work followed by days when “the void” is all I have. I became aware that during the days when “I feel numb” my psyche is directed inwards to itself, it works, self decomposes, and filters the system for something new.

How do you think our lives will change?

I intuitively believe that everything will change for the better, however it will be a challenging processes. What is most important is that everything will speed up, which in any way should have happened. This century has all the resources to be “Fast” and certainly, the time has come for it.

How contemporary art is changing in the COVID-19 era?

It is hard to see the changes yet. We need more time to digest current events and reflect on them, they will be observable in later artworks I guess.

Meanwhile, we can’t organise exhibitions, art needs public and people need art, that’s why I like the idea of online exhibitions and I think it’s an ideal platform for digital artists.

Life after COVID-19? Is there only emptiness on the horizon, or are there opportunities, too?

If these events start genuine reevaluation processes in people, I believe art and its power should be appreciated more. Mostly I've noticed that people in isolation started to return back to “themselves” and started to reevaluate their lives. With these proceses I hope that they find the path towards “ the truth” or at least they glance at it and hopefully when everything is over they won’t forget it.

One habit that you will change after the quarantine?

I don’t know if I can call it a habit, but I am impatient. I always feel an intense, abstract sensation that I am late. Not necessarily to a specific place, but I feel that I must hurry up as if my life is running like a stopwatch. On one hand, I see it as my superpower it helps me in many ways and corresponds to my temperament, However, there are moments when it exhaust me and consumes all my energy. During this lockdown, I think I am learning to control it more.

 Is there anything new you found out about yourself during self-isolation?

I have spent approximately 1 year in self-isolation voluntarily. From time to time I always return to this state, whenever I need to distance from others and my surrounding. However, this time it feels compulsory.

What do you miss the most?

I miss spending time at the studio, which I share with Maia Naveriani. Conversations with her, planning/discussing our future plans, painting together in silence and sharing to each other our works as well as our opinions, eating Falafel during “breaks”.

I even miss the physically exhausting process of arranging our works during studio visits, dragging canvases here and there, sorting out artworks and after visit again rearranging them. Anything relayed to art is something that comes to my mind, getting ready for exhibitions, trips, museums, and that feeling of the future, which at the moment I don’t experience.