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Boris Groys & Andro Wekua

Wait to Wait

The following conversation is an except from a longer interview between Andro Wekua and Boris Groys published in Wait to Wait, edited by Christoph Keller, forthcoming in April 2009 from Christoph Keller Editions and JRP/Ringier Kunstverlag, Zürich.

Boris Groys: We’ve already spoken before about the fact that people have an ambivalent attitude towards the art situation today—at least I do, as someone who writes about art. On the one hand, that situation appears very rosy: everything is moving forward, artists are accepted and recognized as never before, they’re economically successful, too, and being an artist or participating in the international art scene in any way is seen as cool. But, at the same time, there’s a certain pessimism and depression, a feeling of arbitrariness and pointlessness with regard to what’s being done in art. At least in the West there’s that mood. Do you feel that, too? Does it have an impact on you?

Andro Wekua: I have the same impression, too, and I’ve noticed that nowadays it’s very trendy to be an artist, and, consequently, there are a lot of them, and so many different self-contained scenes. But, in the midst of this boom I also detect a great loneliness. At the very time you find yourself in such a big, very active, very lively scene, you feel the other side all the more strongly. You almost have to decide if you want to stick with your work—or whether you want to join in all this activity in the context. Sometimes you don’t know how to divide up your energy because the whole business is just too big.

Groys: Of course we both come from the same part of the world, from what used to be the Soviet Union, although we certainly belong to different generations. When I recall my youth—there were a number of circles in art and culture then, too. But, within a particular circle, you felt fairly well looked after. You had the good feeling of being in a friendly atmosphere. There was support from other artists or writers. There wasn’t any feeling of competition. But right now in the West there’s a prevailing and overwhelming tendency towards individualism, and, as a result, a corresponding feeling of competition. You speak of isolation and loneliness. I don’t believe these feelings stem from the fact that you’ve come from outside. Indigenous, western artists are in the same boat.

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About this Article

Wait to Wait was first published in Fillip 9 in Winter 2009. For more articles from this issue, see the Table of Contents.

Boris Groys is a Professor of Philosophy and Art Theory at the Academy for Design in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Global Professor at New York University. He is the author of many books, including Ilya Kabakov: The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment (Afterall Books, 2006) and Art Power (MIT Press, 2008).

Andro Wekua is a Georgian-born artist living in Zürich, Switzerland. Recent solo exhibitions include those at Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürich; and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. He is represented by Gladstone Gallery, New York.


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