Review: Andro Wekua «Dolphin in the fountain»

New exhibition at Moscow modern art museum «Garage»

The first thing we see when we get to the exhibition space — eight-minute film «By the Window»: Abstract teenager fixedly sitting in a room with his feet on a table. Images of the sea, buildings (presumably, from Wekua’s native Sukhumi), and fragments of films with silhouetted people play in the background, accompanied by dull thuds. Occasionally, the room fills with neon light from outside, as if Blade Runner’s Los Angeles of 2019 is beyond the window. The teenager is one of Wekua’s characters: a life-size mannequin that seems as if it can perform basic movements, yet remains still.

The painted figure in the next room shows an equal detachment. The three paintings and a collage, all featuring the same figure with folded arms, seem to be rooted in the painterly tradition reminiscent of Otto Dix and even early Tair Salakhov. After that we meet аn oversize wolf with a smaller, young girl seemingly leaning against it and a generic and universal type of house — a model-size sculpture that seems to have emerged from someone’s fragmented memories. Assembled together, these figures offer us an entrance to a space separated from the outside world. The connections between the elements aren’t obvious.

“Things are held together with all this blurry material, which we cannot see or measure,” Wekua explains. “That’s interesting for me, how I approach these empty, in-between spaces.” inter-space, where a lot of memories, impressions, emotions, which are as far removed as possible from their primary sources, are turned off from the temporal flow, but at the same time capable of a new, independent form of life.