GARAGE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART PRESENTS:
ANDRO WEKUA. DOLPHIN IN THE FOUNTAIN
March 17–May 21, 2018
Working across sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, artist’s books, and film, Andro Wekua creates intricate environments in which the various elements form unexpected and often dream-like relationships. The artist’s first solo exhibition in Russia features a new project specifically conceived for the West Gallery of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
Dolphin in the Fountain opens with the eight-minute film By the Window (2008), featuring what appears to be a teenager 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. Like most of Wekua’s sculptures, the boy’s pose indicates distance, a detachment from the world around him.
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.
Next to the paintings are two sculptures: an oversize wolf with a smaller, young figure seemingly leaning against it and a generic, universal type of house—not a model but a model-size sculpture that seems to have emerged from someone’s fragmented memories—painted over by Wekua in a gestural manner. Assembled together, these figures offer us an entrance to a space separated from the outside world. Wekua’s works tend to allow for such uncanny situations to arise, where connections between various elements are not obvious and might be intangible upon initial contact. “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.”
This “in-betweenness”—the gaps in the story—is what forms the language of Wekua’s installations. His environments offer to take us to a place of limbo, where memories, impressions, and emotions exist beyond a world defined by the totality of conventional relationships and imbue art with the potential to create new forms of life to match the contemporary world of devalued knowledge and truth.
A limited edition of the artist's book featuring images of works from the show and the curator's notes on Andro Wekua will be published to accompany the exhibition. The edition has been designed by NORM studio, Zurich.
Andro Wekua was born in 1977 in Sukhumi. Solo exhibitions include: A Dog's Fidelity, Gladstone 64, New York (2017); Anruf, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2016); Some Pheasants in Singularity, Sprüth Magers, London (2014); Pink Wave Hunter, Benaki Museum, Athens (2014) and Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2011); Andro Wekua, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2011); A Neon Shadow, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin (2011); and Workshop Report, Wiels, Brussels (2009) and Museion, Bolzano, Italy (2009). Group exhibitions include: La La Human Steps, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2015); Creating Realities.Encounters Between Art and Cinema, Pinakothek Der Moderne, München (2015); Inside, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014); Un’Espressione Geografica, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino (2011); the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Ostalgia, New Museum, New York (2011); Contemplating the Void, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); Abstract Resistance, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2010); Ordinary Madness, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2010); the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010); and the 4th Berlin Beinnale (2006).
Organized by Katya Inozemtseva, Garage Senior Curator.
This exhibition is produced in collaboration with Gladstone Gallery (New York and Brussels) and supported by Gladstone Gallery (New York and Brussels) and Sprüth Magers.
The exhibition is organized with the support of Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
GARAGE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is a place for people, art, and ideas to create history. Through an extensive program of exhibitions, events, education, research, and publishing, the institution reflects on current developments in Russian and international culture, creating opportunities for public dialogue, as well as the production of new work and ideas in Moscow. At the center of all these activities is the Museum’s collection, which is the first archive in the country related to the development of Russian contemporary art from the 1950s through the present. Founded in 2008 by Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich, Garage is the first philanthropic organization in Russia to create a comprehensive public mandate for contemporary art and culture. Open seven days a week, it was initially housed in the renowned Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage in Moscow, designed by the Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov. In 2012 Garage relocated to a temporary pavilion in Gorky Park, specifically commissioned from award-winning architect Shigeru Ban. A year later, a purpose-built Education Center was opened next to the Pavilion. On June 12, 2015, Garage welcomed visitors to its first permanent home. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and his OMA studio, this groundbreaking preservation project transformed the famous Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) Soviet Modernist restaurant, built in 1968 in Gorky Park, into a contemporary museum.
Garage is a non-profit project of The IRIS Foundation.
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As part of the strategic partnership between UNIQLO and Garage, a series of special events and activities is planned. Garage and UNIQLO has launched UNIQLO Free Friday Nights, continuing the tradition of free admission for all visitors every Friday evening at such key art institutions as MoMa in New York and Tate in London. Garage visitors can enjoy free admission to all exhibitions every Friday between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (ticket valid until the Museum closes). UNIQLO and Garage have ambitious plans for the forthcoming year—joint workshops, lectures on contemporary art and fashion, and numerous other events. Visitors to Garage Café can find out more about the brand from the UNIQLO LifeWear Book, which gives an overview of UNIQLO, its current collections, and the company’s innovative methods of apparel production.
A special zone focusing on the partnership between UNIQLO and Garage opened in UNIQLO Atrium, Moscow, in September 2017. Customers can immerse themselves in the art world with books and magazines about art, fashion, and contemporary culture. The zone is also a space for free lectures and master classes, as well as special projects by Garage.
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BMW GROUP RUSSIA
BMW Group has had a presence in the art world for many years thanks to its BMW Art Car project that lists artists like Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, and César Manrique among its participants. Since racing driver and art enthusiast Hervé Poulain invited Alexander Calder to paint the first car in 1975, some of the world’s biggest artists have created nineteen unique designs based on the company’s models. BMW Group is also a long-time partner of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and has organized long-term projects in collaboration with Tate Modern in London and the National Gallery in Berlin.
Garage helps to promote art and culture and inspire millions of people to discover new things. For BMW Group, which celebrated its centenary in 2016, the partnership with Garage is a wonderful opportunity to support contemporary art. Starting from 2017, BMW Group supports one of the Museum’s main programs, offering Art and Technology grants to contemporary artists.