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At the edge of the forest

Filip Machac

Marelisi, (where many of these pictures were taken) is a small mountain village in the Lesser Caucasus. This mountain strip divides Georgia into two parts, the west and the east. Marelisi is one of several foothill villages on the western side that belong to the sleepy settlement of Kharagauli. Lost among the hills, nondescript.

The village is the gateway to Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, one of the largest national parks in Europe. The next larger town is called Zestaponi. A former Soviet industrial town for iron production.  The neighbouring houses are quite far apart in the village. It is not so easy to explore the village on foot because you have to climb up and down hills all the time.

Most of the people who stayed there, mostly old people, still live very traditionally and simply, have cows, horses, oxcarts, sell cheese, calves, honey. They live only from what they grow themselves. The landscape is very typical for this part of Georgia: very green, dense mixed forest on the mountains. In winter there is a lot of snow, but in summer it can get up to 40 degrees. 

In recent years, many families have left the village to seek their fortune or work in the big cities. Many have gone abroad, to Poland, Greece, Italy.  Those who have remained in Georgia return for a moment in the summer to their abandoned houses. The liveliness populates the forest and the fields. The animals rejoice. An illusion of the normality to which they were once accustomed covers the sky. 

The sea, the Black Sea, is 2-3 hours by car from Marelisi, depending on the weather. Depending on the current situation of the mysterious Georgian road repair plans. The sea is never lonely. Conversely, one often has the feeling that the sea demands solitude. Silence. the beaches are overtired.

Filip was born in 1984 in a small town in the Czech Republic. After finishing my studies in philosophy and aesthetics, He moved to Germany and ended up in Berlin. There I started taking photos. In the beginning, he worked with photography on a conceptual level, using it as a medium for various art installations.

"Photography is for me much more than a tool, it is a kind of intuitive communication with the things that surround me, where the process of “making” a photo is an kind of understanding how all things are connected".

Text by Manana Baramidze

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