Bugiani was born in Georgia in 1980, when the country was still under the thumb of the Soviet regime. Since then, Georgia has become autonomous, suffered civil unrest, and established itself as a democratic state. It has not, however—like many European countries that endured Soviet and Socialist rule—rid itself of historical and political ghosts that are manifest tangibly in architecture.
In the somewhat satirically titled series “Sovieticum,” Bugiani draws on memories of Soviet and Post-Soviet landscapes to probe softly political ends. Most paintings look as if they are just shy of completion: compilations of quickly rendered shapes and lines that resolve as simplified, shaky buildings, roads, and trees. The slapdash quality of Bugiani’s mark-making is willful and alludes to the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of memory. Large areas of greys and browns root the compositions in a smoggy, grim palette and nod to heavy-handed histories. Unexpected accents of bold color (lines of yellow, purple facades), however, act as contemporary, optimistic marginalia.