Andro Wekua is a Georgian artist working with film, photography, collage, painting, sculpture and installation. Recognised for his life-size, lifelike figurative sculptures and architectural models that combine personal and collective memories, Wekua provides his viewers with a poignant yet fragmented return to the past.Read More
Repeated motifs or fragments are common in Wekua's works. Among his most iconic motifs is the adolescent-looking girl who often appears in the company of a black wolf. In the 2017 sculptural installation Wolf with Girl, the girl's features are barely discernible; the wolf—cast in bronze with black patina—appears to nudge at the girl's aluminium shoulder or potentially is holding her back. By contrast, the two untitled wolf-and-girl installations that Wekua presented at Sprüth Magers London in 2014 show the figures as cast-wax mannequins with lifelike features. In one, the youth rides the wolf; in the other, she stands by herself, eyes closed, resting her face on a suspended device that resembles a playground swing. The relationship behind the unlikely pair, however, remains unresolved as Wekua is reluctant to accord narrative to his works.
For his collages on paper, the artist works with materials from diverse sources such as personal photographs of friends, as well as images found on the internet, or in magazines and anonymous photo albums. Once the collages are completed, Wekua sends them to a screenprinter to have them enlarged and printed on canvas or aluminium. Finally, he makes figurative paintings on top of the printed collages. Lying, Walking, Swimming (2005), for example, is a combination of photographic elements and painted triangular shapes against a black background. On the left, Wekua has covered an image of a domestic interior using colour pencil and felt pen; on the right, a giant woman—her arms painted in neon pink—towers over a dolphin, a naked girl and a reclining female nude. However, Wekua's figurative paintings are not meant to be portraits of specific individuals or specific events, but rather portrayals of a universal experience. In his interview with Wallpaper*, Wekua stated that he titles his works last as he feels names give rise to meaning. When his works leave his studio, he becomes a stranger to them as much as his viewers are upon initial contact. Despite the deeply narrative quality of his works, Wekua prefers to withdraw himself from his subjects and to treat completed works as autonomous objects.
Similarly conveying Wekua's interest in personal and collective memories are his repeated references to his hometown of Sokhumi. Sokhumi—a Georgian city at the time of Wekua's birth in 1977—became embroiled in a territory dispute between Georgia and Abkhazia in the 1990s. The artist's political activist father was assassinated by Abkhaz nationalists in 1989, and later his family was forced to leave the city. From 2010, Wekua began using photographs of Sokhumi sourced from the internet and from fellow exiles to create 'Pink Wave Hunter', a series of 15 architectural models based on the buildings in his hometown. The reconstructed models, however, are not faithful replicas of their originals; what Wekua could not remember or recreate from the photographs, he left blank. For instance, one building has only a façade, leaving the empty space to serve as a metaphor for the gaps that memories from individuals and the internet could not close. Memory, Wekua implies, is collective, and the past cannot be reconstructed in its entirety.
Wekua studied at National Art School, Sokhumi, and Visual Art School Basel, graduating in 1991 and 1999 respectively. He has since then exhibited in numerous galleries, notably Kunsthalle Zürich (2018); Sprüth Magers Berlin (2018); Gladstone Gallery, New York (2012); Saatchi Gallery, London (2011); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2010); and Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010). His participation in international exhibitions includes the Venice Biennale (2011); Gwangju Biennale (2010); and the 55th Carnegie International (2008).
Wekua lives and works in Berlin.
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
Gallery Weekend Berlin launches its second event of the year with galleries presenting artists whose work is lesser known to the broader public.
In this report on Gallery Weekend Berlin, Mitch Speed finds himself drawn to works that reflect bodily affect, and considers how they echo art's relationship with commerce.
Gallery Weekend [Berlin] is a long-established highlight in the German art world's calendar. This year, the fourteenth edition takes place from 27 to 29 April, and features no less than 47 particip
[Andro Wekua]'s Berlin studio is located on a curve of the River Spree near the Tiergarten park. This used to be quite a backwater, but escalating property prices and proximity to the river have tu