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Born: 1977, Sukhumi, Georgia
Lives and Works: Zürich, Switzerland
Andro Wekua's emotionally demanding paintings, drawings, prints, collages, films, and imposing sculptural tableaux deal with myth and a claustrophobic seclusion. The denial of vision is a leitmotif of the uncanny life-size cast figures that populate his art—their eyes appear to have been smothered with paste, put out with pokers, or disguised with theatrical masks. In Get out of my room (2006), this lack of sight affects the cast figure of a schoolboy dressed in a shirt and black lace-up shoes. Wekua pointedly resists exoticizing narratives of loss, trauma, turmoil, and displacement that might easily be attributed to his artwork, because as a child, he was forced to flee the violence of the war-torn former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Memory, instead, is assumed to be no more authentic, or no less artificial, than the silver-screen-star portraits that wend their way into his collages or the classical or Freudian symbolism that his sculptures might animate.