Iveta and Tamaz Manasherovs:
Paata Merabishvili's talent is huge and authentic. He is a prominent figure on the Russian art scene, but for us, he is also, and probably primarily, a very close friend. It is utterly impossible to separate the two. Being a wholehearted person, Paata is very determined and purposeful. It will not be an exaggeration to say that he moulds as he lives. There is depth and purity in everything he does, and purity manifests itself in both art and relationships. Paata and Rusiko, his wife and muse, are sincere and open, granting empathy and warm feelings to people who are around and nearby. It comes as no surprise that the emotions and tremendous energy the artist generously shares in his everyday life find expression in his oeuvre.

For decades we have been observing Merabishvili's art in development as his talent was getting richer and more mature. Today, we are very pleased with the opportunity to express our attitude towards his achievements, and friendship does not prevent us from being objective. On the contrary, being spiritually close helps us to better understand his artistic language and philosophy of art. All of his works, even the earliest ones, are imbued with a sense of fullness and beauty of life. His exploration of flowing lines and cast forms in sculpture personifies life in all its manifestations. The works are highly poetic: they glorify feminine beauty and sexuality, the flexibility of the body and the strength of mind.

Paata Merabishvili was lucky to have had great teachers from the legendary generation of the "Fiftiers." In the Soviet times their works, devoid of the imposed canons of Socialist Realism, reflected the originality of Georgian art and an amazing sense of form. As a young sculptor he gained a lot from their lessons. Through the years Merabishvili has retained the inherent qualities from his youth and has stayed true to his inner "tuning fork."

The sculptor's long and prolific career can be divided into several periods: in the 1990s he produced early modernist works, in the 2000s was in search of form and monumentality, and in the early 2010s engaged in postmodern play. In the past few years, his affinity for surreal imagery has become evident. He enjoys challenges that test his skills: taking a solid rock and transforming a shapeless lump into something unexpectedly elegant and delicately worked out does not frighten but inspires him. It also reflects his craving for life and craft. Unafraid of difficulties, he finds a constant stimulus in overcoming them and struggling with himself to find a new turn. Having realised that he has reached a certain level, Paata moves on to new creative discoveries.

Merabishvili's sculptures are organically integrated into our art collection, which consists of works by avant-garde artists of the beginning of the 20th century and the so-called second avant-garde — the art of the "Sixtiers." His sculptures do not clash with other works in the collection, but are in full harmony with them. It is also interesting to note that Paata's works clearly bear the influence of certain artists from the so-called School of Paris — Modigliani, Archipenko, Zadkine. After all, it was the interweaving of various artistic systems and national roots that produced such a powerful and harmonious outcome in the School of Paris. The same applies to the style of his works, where the original and national elements are subtly combined with the universal and international artistic language that is understandable to everyone. At the same time, he creates very modernist works. Some of his sculptures, such as "Lyre" and "Centaur," which are part of our collection, impress the viewer with a synthesis of archaic motifs and modern plastic solutions.

The Georgian avant-garde serves as one of the prime focuses of our collection. Niko Pirosmani, David Kakabadze, and Lado Gudiashvili are undoubtedly among our favourite artists, whose works we enjoy seeing every day. Spiritually Paata's artworks are close to these artists. The elongated, curved forms of his images resemble figures from paintings by Lado Gudiashvili, another member of the School of Paris. The sculpture "Watering Place," which is in our collection, is a continuation of this figurative system. It stands out for its very subtle elaboration of the image and the fabulous idea behind it. Merabishvili's works are an inseparable part of our collection, his sculptures adorn our lives.

Finally, we would like to emphasize that our ties with Paata are not limited to friendship and artist-collector type of relationship but also include various collaboration projects. We commissioned two commemorative awards presented on behalf of our U-ART foundation as part of the "Innovation" art prize. Both statuettes caught the attention of the press and spectators at each award ceremony. We are glad that today artists, curators, and art critics keep these awards as a memory of the recognition of merits in the field of contemporary art. We were very pleased to recommend Paata to our friends at whose request he sculpted the prize awarded within the framework of the Casta Diva Russian opera prize.
There is a well-known quote: "Talented person is talented in everything." We would not like to use these words as a cliche but they are absolutely true of Paata Merabishvili: he is talented in friendship and work alike.