A guide to the New East
New East 100


Andro Wekua

Discover how this Abkhazia-born artist is rebuilding his hometown from memory

Andro Wekua is one of the art world’s biggest mysteries, and obsessions. The Georgian artist fled war-torn Abkhazia in the 1990s with his family and has been based in Europe ever since. The past, however, is rarely the focus of discussions about his work. Rather, it’s the image of a sombre and enigmatic modernity, bordering on dystopian future, which comes through in Wekua’s visionary sculptures, installations and paintings. For the exhibition Some Pheasants in Singularity at Sprüth Magers gallery in London, Wekua created two sculptures of the same character, a young blond girl with a bionic arm, one where she is calmly riding on the back of a black wolf, and one where she is hanging passively by her chin from a rectangular piece of glass. The scenes evoke vague dreams birthed by the contemporary vortex of pop culture imagery, although they certainly cut deeper. Wekua has been exhibiting internationally since his mid-twenties – through the circuits Kunsthallen in Switzerland and Germany, and at Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea — and his output has always retained an eerie introspective quality, at the same time inviting the viewer to fill gaps in the narrative. It is worth mentioning that in 2011, for the work Pink Wave Hunter, Wekua did return to his native Sukhumi — although only virtually. He used photos sourced from the internet to create mixed-media replicas of buildings in the city, which turned out to have a ghostly presence of the erased history. The gaps and voids in the narrative, and the unexpected paths our minds follow to fill them, are perhaps his major preoccupations as an artist. 

Text: Anastasiia Fedorova

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