Exhibition: Pop-Up Chess Palace
22nd-25th June 2017, ZK/U(Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik), Berlin, Germany
DATE: 22/6/2017
"´Chess palace´ may sound unusual in the Western European context. However, it was a common idea in the Soviet Union, where chess was widely played in its pioneer palaces, cultural houses and workers´ clubs [...] In the 1970s, in addition to the existing chess clubs, the special palaces were created for chess – not in the centre though, but in the peripheral Soviet republics of Georgia, Armenia and Belarus. These buildings are distinguished by their striking architecture, sophisticated design and intelligent placement into the urban environment.

The exhibition Pop-Up Chess Palace explores the social and architectural utopia of these places. The archive material shows how the belief in an egalitarian idea and in the potential of modernist architecture has shaped the appearance and the interior design of the chess palaces. In their works, contemporary artists portray different aspects of chess and point out ideological implications of the past and the present.

Through her work, Nino Sekhniashvili deals with the interconnection of luck and destiny. Naili Vakhania embraces the game of state ideologies and its appearance in the cityscape of Tbilisi. Aleksander Komarov recalls the mass media echo of the longest chess championship, the match between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov in 1984[...] In her cinematic portrait, Magdalena Pieta shows the present life and the drill of the Chess City Elista, the capital of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, built in 1998. Tatia Skhirtladze examines the emancipatory role of four Georgian female chess masters, who dominated the chess world for decades and kept the title of World Chess Championship in Georgia from 1962 to 1991. In the video work of Lasha Kabanashvili, the history of Tbilisi Chess Palace and Alpine Club is played back through its glorious past and successive challenges. In their photographic work, Atu Gelovani and Lado Lomitashvili also devote themselves to the Georgian masterpiece. Their attention for details shows both the subdued beauty of the building and the difficulties of its use today.

The exhibition Pop-Up Chess Palace, in the framework of the German-Georgian friendship year, focuses on Tbilisi Chess Palace and Alpine Club - architecturally the most demanding and ambitious one among these palaces. However, the conflicts of current use are also addressed. Accordingly, the curators of the exhibition question how to generally deal with the unique features of the modernist socialist architecture and how the ideal content of these buildings can be lived today.

Culinary and film programs accompany the exhibition.
And, of course, chess should be played in the temporary chess palace!"

For further info, please contact: popupchesspalace@gmail.com