About the Exhibition
Fergus McCaffrey Tokyo is delighted to present Rita Ackermann & Andro Wekua: Chapter 4, a unique exhibition bringing together two artists who are long-time allies, some-time collaborators, and singular personalities for a dual-person show that traces inspiration and creative exchange through some twenty years.
Grounded in a common experience of bankrupt Soviet idealism, systemic repression, eventual exile, and the immigrant experience, Rita Ackermann and Andro Wekua both left the Eastern Block in the 1990s to pursue careers abroad. While Ackermann’s art retains few references to her early life in Hungary and is absorbed in her experience of America from the late 1980s to the present day, Wekua’s art enigmatically clings to an unclear recent-past.
Ackermann and Wekua are part of a lineage that includes their fellow ‘Easterners’ Georg Baselitz and Sigmar Polke, in that they borrow widely from folk and fairy tales, invoke high and low culture, and navigate a path between state-mandated realism and the perceived allure of American gestural abstraction. Further, it is impossible not to reference two earlier displaced Europeans: Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, who seem to provide material and spiritual nutrition in finding a path between figuration, landscape, and pure abstraction.
A 2002 introduction by a mutual friend, Gianni Jetzer, brought the like-minded practitioners into a shared process of creative trade that began by fax, and quickly became a self-published zine: Chapter 1; subsequently published by Nieves (Switzerland) for Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. Drawing on, from, and through a shared psyche of pictures, music, poetry, and plain talk, these remote communications manifest through various modes of technology: landline, voicemail, text, email, and image exchange that implies distance itself as key to the closeness of their preoccupation, up to now: Chapter 4. The paintings and collages from the two artists that make up this Tokyo exhibition range specifically from 2008 to 2021, while more broadly addressing a shared understanding that seems to have begun well in advance of Ackermann and Wekua’s initial meeting. That they cannot travel to Japan to experience the fruits of this 21st century dialogue in-person together, does not diminish the strength or resonance of that unity. For those of us who see it, and those of us who do not.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a presentation of the artists’ sketchbooks, featured in the bilingual Chapter 4 catalogue published by Fergus McCaffrey and Case Publishing, will be on-view at twelvebooks, Tokyo, alongside rare and out-of-print books by each artist—opening June 1st.
No More Words
By Gianni Jetzer
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