The photos of Vigen Vartanov can be compared to cinematography in the impact they have on the viewer. They are an open portal to unexplored surrealistic realities, like a kingdom of dreams, they evoke multi-layered, black-and-white worlds filled with mystical codes and meanings. Vigen Vartanov’s creative work fell outside the rigid soviet system of “socialist realism” the only artistic style accepted during most years of his lifetime. Knowing this, Vartanov never published these images. Several years after the death of the artist, Vartanov family has returned to his negatives, to print and restore his vision, almost half-a-century after their creation.
Vigen Vartanov was born and lived all his life in an old house on Plekhanov Avenue (now David Agmashenebeli). Since childhood, fond of cinema, he dreamed of becoming a cinematographer. In 1967 he started working at the film studio “Georgia-Film” as an artist-photographer. For thirty years of his career at the film studio he took part in the making of fourteen films of prominent directors of Georgian cinema. Back then, he didn’t have a photo camera or a laboratory of his own, he’d borrow it from the studio to follow his passion. His artistic and complex black and white photographs of the late 60’s – early 70’s did not quite fit into the aesthetic requirements of those years. Thus, Vigen never published or exhibited his photographic work.
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