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18.11.11 - 24.11.11

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New art sculpture in Batumi receives criticism

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Locals in Georgia’s Black sea resort town of Batumi have recently disapproved of a new art installation placed in front of the Radisson Blu Hotel.

The target of this criticism is Sea Slippers on Eggs, the work of French sculptor Lili Fantozzi, a self-educated 39 year-old sculptor and actress, whose works have been exhibited in contemporary art galleries in Paris, Vienna, New York and Brussels.

“I presented a miniature version of the sculpture (a pair of Keds on eggs), which is symbolic of the dangerous road for which this country has traveled in terms of reconstruction,” Fantozzi explained in one of her interviews.

Though the Georgian government decided to install the sculpture in Batumi, the idea of Keds shoes was changed into sea slippers, typical for a seaside city. According to Fantozzi, the model of the previous sculpture Keds on Eggs now adorns the cabinet of Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava.

The composition is 5.5 meters high with each egg being 1.6 meters high. The art has drawn interest from professionals as well. Teo Khatiashvili, a Georgian art critic, has associated this “eclectic” piece with tanks, as well as with Freud and other sexual content.

“This sculpture arouses associations which are somehow based on power and violence but the fact that it’s actually sea slippers, brings [the idea] into a resort-like, tourist zone,” Khatiashvili said in her comments for Netgazeti, a local online portal. At the same time, she added, the sculpture can be interpreted as portraying a “dangerous life, which is like walking on such subtle things as eggs that can collapse any time.”

On her private website, Lili Fantozzi writes that there are 12 projectors for illuminating the sculpture. Including the installation and wiring, each egg costs 447 Euros. The monument has a three year warranty.

According to the economic and finance department at Batumi City Hall, the budget of this controversial project is 328, 207 lari.

“The contract related to this sculpture was signed between Batumi City Hall and the art studio DOTCOMMA in May of this year,” explained Tengiz Petridze, Deputy Head of the Municipal Improvements Services of Batumi City Hall.

As of late, Batumi has become the heart of Georgia’s modern architecture. The recreational and cultural infrastructure inside the city is developing at a rapid pace with new statues and buildings such as Nino and Ali, Upside Down and others are becoming popular tourist attractions.

By Lika Moshiashvili

18.11.2011

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