Daan van Golden and Andro Wekua

I schlepped up to Camden Arts Centre today where Daan van Golden (Dutch) and Andro Wekua (Georgian) were exhibiting. van Golden's seemed promising, the website blurb stated that he has enjoyed both renown and celebration in the Netherlands since the sixties and that they were proud to host this, his first solo UK exhibition, bringing together over thirty of his paintings from the last forty years. It also included photos of his daughter growing up from 1978 to 1996. The photos were touching, but many photos of kids growing up are, and the only stories they told was that a) his teenage daughter didn't seem to mind being photographed by her father whilst she is in the shower, and b) like most little girls she liked dressing up in an array of costumes. So what? Anyway. His paintings. Hung on the wall were three large paintings of what looked like a canary silouhette, a beautiful pale blue and one striking red. They really stood out, but I could detect no trace of artistic technique, save for the fact that he had obviously created said silhouette and made copies for the other two. The blurb says, anticipating my nonchalance, that 'his art is made up of both his own fascinations and out-of-the-ordinary moments that occur in his life. He finds beauty in the everyday and treats mundane objects with integrity and respect by showing us familiar things in a new way'. OK then. But the bit that gave me a little sigh was the disclosure that, since van Golden found meditation and Zen philosophy, he began to produce his work in a meditative way. I liked the idea but the results didn't say much, and failed to move me, perhaps the result of trying to engage with someone whilst in a meditative state, despite trying to linger in front of the bright red shapes on their white background, or the 'composition with blue square' which was just like theborder pattern on a mass-produced post-war tablecloth.

Andre Wekua was also a bit of disappointment, but in a different way. I entered the room, presented with a bright yellow 'box' inside which sits a motorbike with a dummy sat astride it, and immediately felt like I was in some boy's bedroom circa 1984. Actually, that box with its motorbike reminded me of 1988 when a group of us fourteen year olds would hide in an old cargo carriage thing, inside which sat... yes, a motorbike! And we'd sit on the cold floor of this corrugated iron box and sniff glue, lighter fluid, any other toxin that would bring us into the Fourth Dimension. I digress. On the walls of this box were a not very well presented line of collaged pictures which included pen ink scrawlings. The blurb for Wekua claimes he uses the 'atmosphere of the theatre to create introspective, melancholic installations. Their multiple meanings let the work be read like poems, where truths are shrouded and the mood intense'. Multiple meanings = make of it what you will. Truths are shrouded = you will never grasp any 'truth' because there is none to be had. Mood intense = boys room circa 1984.

By the way, I'm reading Crawling at Night by Nani Power and am enjoying muchly.

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