Wekua’s work is distinguished by a highly affective resonance. This resonance is most prominently seen in the mannequin figures that permeate his entire work, appearing alongside other visual motifs such as houses, landscapes, faces and machines. They emerge in the form of photographs in collages or come to life as sculptures. The mannequin figures in installations such as Get out of my room (2006) seem to derive their origins less from art history than from the design language of shop-window dummies or cyborgs from the worlds of science fiction. Their expressionless faces—which can at best be described as generic—are sometimes completely obliterated in the collages. The sculptures, such as the twitching figure in Untitled (2014), shown in the exhibition Some Pheasants in Singularity, are often seen wearing contemporary clothing like tank tops or sneakers. For all their overt artificiality, these mannequin figures seem endowed with a psychological life of their own. Defying all probability, they seem strangely alive, even realistic. They are figures that emanate a disturbing power.
Wekua’s exhibitions usually consist of elaborately-staged configurations executed with great attention to detail. The artist uses architectural interventions to create spatial and atmospheric scenarios, mise en scènes invoked by the curated rhythm of sculptures and paintings, choice of wall color, floor covering and lighting. This desire to stage is also brought to bear in his moving-image works. The artist’s films are enigmatic, at times surreal visual compositions; his manipulation of visual material, color, editing and music create metaphorically dense, quasi-hypnotic atmospheres with a powerful draw on the viewer.
Some of Wekua’s two-dimensional images are idiosyncratic abstractions with a similar affective undertow. Other pictorial works, such as Levan Portrait (2017) and E. Mirrored Window (2018), are based on the strategies of assemblage and draw from photographs as a point of departure—images that appear personal in nature. Wekua uses these photos like fragments of visual memory. First they find their way into paper collages. In a further step, these collages are transferred via a silkscreen process to aluminum panels. Wekua creates the finished work by continuously applying and removing bright, richly-pigmented oil paints from the surface of these panels, changing backgrounds, blurring or adding details. The process allows the artist to compress several layers of time into one image and to counter the past with a new poetic reality. The works testify to a desire to visually and conceptually capture something that cannot be captured.
Wekua’s paintings, sculptures and films often have an almost magnetic quality that oscillates between seduction and repulsion, creating aesthetic experiences that have the logic of dreams. Viewers often have the impression that they are entering a space governed by a dimension of time distinct from everyday life. It is a space that foregrounds the unknown or indefinable and redraws the boundaries between naturalness and artificiality, past and present. In doing so, Wekua exposes the inherent instability of not only any form of representation, but also of perception itself.