The dogs, moved by old memory, still lift
their hindlegs at a once-familiar spot.
The church’s walls have long since been torn down,
but these dogs see the church walls in their dreams.
Dog-dreams have canceled out reality …
For them the church still stands; they see it plain.
— Joseph Brodsky, from “A Halt in the Desert”
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an installation of new paintings by Andro Wekua. Through a practice that includes film, sculpture, and collage, Wekua works in the ambiguous half-light of memory, fantasy, and history. He offers fragmented narratives, part objects, and doubled figures as meta-fictions of a self that skid against autobiographical and historical specificity.
Building from the collage practice that has been central to his work, Wekua presents a new body of portraits and seascapes inspired by the numinous presence of the icon. As the image of a body formed of myth, as well as personal history, these portrayals of people and places from the artist’s life emerge from the accreted layers of both formal and psychic investigation. On aluminum panels, re-worked through a process that continually adds and removes oil paint to construct new figures and relations, the artist collages and draws his way through different registers of meaning by obscuring, refashioning, or even completely effacing the original source image. The exhibition includes large painterly tableaus, redolent of European landscape and seascape painting, which, in wrestling spatial relations of figure and ground, convey the aesthetic process as a dive into fiction as reality.
Andro Wekua was born in 1977 in Georgia, and studied visual arts there and in Basel, Switzerland. In 2016 his work was the subject of a solo exhibition at Kölnischer Kunstverein. Other solo museum exhibitions include Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany; Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; Wiels, Brussels, Belgium, Neue Kunst Halle, St. Gallen, Switzerland; Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Camden Arts Center, London; the De Haalen Haarlem, Netherlands; Le Magasin, Grenoble, France; and the Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece. He has participated in various group shows including ILLUMInations at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), Contemplating the Void at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2010), 10,000 Lives, 8th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2010), Life on Mars: 55th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006).