interview - mano svanidze

what motivates you?

i don't know exactly how my brain works, but somehow it always finds a way for me to be motivated. one of the biggest motivations for me is being part of 90'x collective. 90’x collective is a photo collective of four georgian photographers who were born in 90’s, after the collapse of ussr. our generation is distinguished by the strong belonging to this chaotic period. art industry has become very individualistic and disjointed. competition is so high, there is no space left for individual artists to share, care, support each other. we all have been friends for many years, following each other's first steps in photography. we went through a lot together. helped and believed in each other even when we didn't know how to use a camera. being part of such a union can give you a lot of motivation, joy and confidence. with founding 90'x collective we just gave our "relationship" a name.

what inspires you?

beauty and ugliness of the world we live in.

how long have you been creating your work?

for 11 years. my interest in photography has deep roots in my childhood. after georgia declared its independence from the soviet union, wars broke out in different regions of the country. as a result of the abkhazian and south ossetian conflicts, thousands of people had to leave everything behind and ended up (internally) displaced. my grandmother was one of those who had to leave. all she managed to take with her were a few photos, which were to become regarded as very precious, almost sacred things by my family. she was often asked why she took photos and not, for example, her jewelry; after all, these could be more useful in a war situation. the silence that would follow this question never failed to make a big impression on me. growing up, i have always felt attracted to art, and i have engaged in numerous disciplines in an attempt to express my creativity: painting, making beads, carpet weaving, embroidery, dancing and modeling clay are just a few. but in photography i have found the ultimate tool and language to describe and communicate that something, that has for so many years kept me restless and seemingly rootless. having received no kind of formal education at all, i began experimenting with photography in 2009, and since then photography has become an integral part of my life.

what is an insecurity you have spent time grappling with recently?

two years ago a car hit me. because of damage to my spine, i was forced to spend a lot of time in bed without being able to move. we all know that we can die any moment, but we still don't realize that we can really die any moment. now i'm fully recovered, but sometimes it comes to my thoughts, that i'm running out of time. 

what do you imagine for your future as an artist?

to never lose the ability to feel, and to be as in love with photography as i am now, as i have been the past 11 years. 

share a recent encounter with an artist or a stranger that has shifted your perspective.

i always thought that in order to create i needed high dose of sadness, since when i was in a good mood, i never really felt like doing anything except enjoying it. until a few years ago, when i met my boyfriend and realized that all this sweet beautiful bullshit about love is true. and that happiness can be as strong (if not stronger) "drive" to create as sadness.


 apr 2 2020

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