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Mishkin Gallery unveils unique photo exhibition with Georgian Silk Museum

Isabel Asha Penzlien | Mishkin Gallery

Mishkin Gallery unveiled its new exhibition titled “Taxonomies of Power: Photographic Encounters at the State Silk Museum, Tbilisi on March 21.” 

The exhibition, co-curated by Alaina Claire Feldman and Mariam Shergelashvili, promises a captivating journey through history and nature, as seen through the lens of Soviet-era photographers and contemporary Georgian artist Andro Eradze.

This is the first time that these photographs have ever been printed and seen. Opening its doors to the public on March 22, the exhibition will run until June 7, showcasing a collection of 47 monochrome historic photographs sourced from the State Silk Museum in Tbilisi, Georgia. 

These photographs, meticulously curated from digitized glass plate negatives, unveil the intricate lifecycle of the Bombyx mori, commonly known as the silk moth. Captured within these frames are moments of metamorphosis, revealing the delicate yet powerful process that sustains the silk industry.

“The 47 images show you the entire life cycle of the silk worm and in a very interesting way kind of ask questions about in what ways are artistic vision and scientific discovery the same and in which ways are they different,” gallery director and curator Alaina Claire Feldman said. 

What sets this exhibition apart is its interdisciplinary approach, bridging the realms of art and science. The photographs, originally intended for scientific documentation, now serve as artifacts of artistic expression. The works displayed offer a glimpse into the Soviet Empire’s fascination with molecular exploration.

Installed alongside the photos is Andro Eradze’s film, “Raised in the Dust,” which immerses viewers in the nocturnal world of the forest. The film premiered at the 2022 Biennale di Venezia and is now making its New York debut. 

Through Eradze’s lens, the boundaries between the wild and the domestic blur, inviting contemplation on the fluidity of nature and humanity’s place within it.

The origins of the exhibition lie in the history of the State Silk Museum. Established in 1887 by biologist Nikolay Shavrov, the institution played a pivotal role in promoting sericulture and apiculture in the Caucasus region.

In attendance was Data Chigholashvili, a New York-based curator who used to work at the State Silk Museum as the curator of international programs. He was involved in the process of researching and digitizing the images on display.

“It’s very exciting to see the Silk Museum’s pictures here in New York City,” Chigholashvili said. “I’ve seen them in digital form in different places and now they’re here in New York — it’s interesting this connection of science and art, which I find fascinating.”

Over the years, the Silk Museum evolved into a hub of scientific inquiry and artistic exploration, reflected in the exhibit’s photographs. In turn, the collaboration between Mishkin Gallery and the State Silk Museum underscores a shared commitment to cultural exchange and artistic innovation.

As visitors step into Mishkin Gallery, they embark on a journey guided by the intricate beauty of silk moths and the ethereal landscapes of Eradze’s film. In a world marked by division and categorization, “Taxonomies of Power” offers a glimpse into a realm where boundaries dissolve, inviting viewers to explore the interconnectedness of all living beings.

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Melani Bonilla
Melani Bonilla, Multimedia Editor
Melani Bonilla is the Multimedia Editor for The Ticker.
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