Nino Japaridze "Stranger of Gardens (Etranger des Jardins)" 2014
I've writtern about Nino Japaridze's work here twice before and with good reason: her vibrant pieces have a distinct surrealist lineage, but still feel wholly fresh and surprising. Her latest project consists of her take on the tarot in its entirety - not unfamiliar territory for preceding artists. Yet in Japaridze's skilled hands and under her distinct vision, it's renewed. Her mixed-media works don't feel derivitive like so many of the decks out there which steal shamelessly from Pamela Colman Smith's designs. Rather, these cards are unique and fantastical, teeming with color and alternative visual interpretations of the classic tarot tropes. Additionally, this deck has different suits: Winds, Fire, Tides, and Gardens, rather than the usual Swords, Wands, Cups, and Pentacles; and new entities such as The Stranger, The Jester, and The Drowned.
All 78 original paintings from the deck will be on display as part of the Gallery of Surrealism's "Japaridze Tarot" show at Paris' Hotel Drouot beginning this Thursday, October 30th through November 5th:
What: Japaridze Tarot
Where: 12 rue Drouot, 75009, Paris
When: Thursday 30 October - Thursday 06 November, 2014
Vernissage: Thursday 30 October 6:30-9:30pm admission by invitation
Japaridze Tarot, a re-imagining of the Tarot universe through the visionary lens of leading Franco-Georgian contemporary artist Nino Japaridze, is a hypnotic, deeply contemplative series of seventy eight original paintings in oil, acrylic, gouache, ink, and collage created over a period of two years.
Steve Lucas, owner of New York's Gallery of Surrealism which represents Japaridze, proposed to the artist in 2011 that she create twenty two works inspired by the Major Arcana of traditional Tarot. As the remarkable works neared completion, they came to the attention of legendary Tarot authority and collector Stuart Kaplan. Kaplan, author of the four-volume Encyclopedia of Tarot and whose company, U.S. Games Systems, is the world's foremost publisher of Tarot decks, was fascinated by Japaridze's timeless and mesmerizing images and determined to publish them under his imprint. He challenged the artist to create an additional fifty six paintings constituting a complete tarot deck. The artist, undaunted by the tripling of her efforts, was intrigued and created the remainder of the deck over the following year.
Born and raised in the Republic of Georgia's capital city of Tbilisi, Nino Japaridze has been a full-time artist her entire life. She moved to Paris over twenty years ago and has painted and exhibited there since that time. Her recent projects include L'Eternel Retour, an exhibition which premiered in 2010 at Paris' Palais de Tokyo and The Master and Margarita, a portfolio of four hand-painted etchings published in 2012.
In addition to the seventy eight original mixed media paintings for the Japaridze Tarot, all of which will be on view to the public for the first time, Gallery of Surrealism and Hotel Drouot are pleased to present the premiere of U.S. Games Systems' deluxe publication, a boxed set containing the Tarot card deck and 178-page book with full-color artwork.
Parisians, do be sure to see this beauteous work in person. Those of us who live elsewhere will be able to content ourselves with the marvelous deck itself, released by none other than US Games this month - perfect timing for Samhain divinations.