Anna Weyant, The Return of The Girls Next Door, 2022–23 / Courtesy of Anna Weyant / Photo Rob McKeever
Anna Weyant: The Guitar Man
Oct 18 – Dec 22, 2023
Gagosian
Paris, France

Gagosian is pleased to announce The Guitar Man, an exhibition by Anna Weyant opening on October 18, 2023, at 9 rue de Castiglione, Paris. This is the New York–based artist’s European solo debut and follows her first presentation with the gallery, Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over, at Gagosian, New York, in 2022. Named for a song by Los Angeles soft rock band Bread, The Guitar Man features new figure and still-life paintings inspired by classics of American pop culture including The Addams Family, Clue, Looney Tunes, and Playboy. In these striking images, Weyant develops further the dark aesthetic and haunting undercurrent of her previous work.

The paintings on view in Paris build on the motif of the dollhouse that Weyant has been exploring since her earliest work. In preparing The Guitar Man, she constructed a new, exquisite physical example reminiscent of the iconic Bates family house from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). The artist mined this structure for inspiration – House Exterior (2023) depicts it head-on – and used it as a platform for experimentation with lighting design. The jewel-box scale of the gallery space at rue de Castiglione also resonates with the dollhouse’s claustrophobic aura, evoking the kinds of childhood memories that linger into adulthood.

The eerie, portentous air of the dollhouse form permeates all of Weyant’s works, whether portraits, figures, or still-life compositions, resonating with images that undercut their subjects’ attempts at composure with moments of conscious awkwardness, hinting at mild but pervasive anxiety and the manipulative influence of unseen – perhaps, here, directorial – hands. Weyant’s subjects reject the impulse to violent reaction, however, in favor of quiet, introspective refusal. In her precisely rendered still lifes, meanwhile, she lends everyday objects an unsettling air.

In Girl with Candlestick (2023), Weyant depicts a pale blond figure – the exhibition’s protagonists have been made to appear interchangeable – wrapped in a white sheet toting a slender candle in a brass holder through a pitch-dark interior. The subject’s characteristically smooth, rounded face and upward-cast eyes are given eerie new shape and expression by the illumination from below, a trick borrowed from cinematic and theatrical lighting that recasts the ordinary as malevolent or mysterious.

In This Is a Life? (2023), she causes the image of a silver vase of flowers perched on a wooden windowsill that frames an opaque black backdrop – and in which her own reflection is visible – to appear doubly artificial. The work’s white-and-yellow blooms are flat and stylized, as if cut from sheets of paper, while the title’s ambiguously provocative question is splashed across the upper third of the composition in a bold red-and-white script. The query is the title of a 1955 Looney Tunes animation that parodies the 1950s-’60s American talk show This Is Your Life, but might be read as casting mischievous doubt on the value of the still-life genre, or on the flowers’ (or our) own existence.

  • Adraint Khadafhi Bereal: The Black Yearbook
    Publication
    4 Color Books / Penguin Random House
    International

    When photographer Adraint Bereal graduated from the University of Texas, he self-published an impressive volume of portraits, personal statements, and interviews that explored UT’s campus culture and offered an intimate look at the lives of Black students matriculating within a majority white space. Bereal’s work was inspired by his first photo exhibition at the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, entitled 1.7, that unearthed the experiences of the 925 Black men that made up just 1.7% of UT’s total 52,000 student body. (more…)

  • UNIQUE. Beyond Photography
    Apr 19 – Jun 8, 2024
    Hangar
    Brussels, Belgium

    In the UNIQUE exhibition, we explore 21 projects by artists, half of whom are under 40 and based in Belgium. What unites them is the creative gesture. It’s no longer just the photographic perspective, but the manual labor that is celebrated here. Establishing this physical connection with the artwork results in the creation of unique pieces that defy the norms of analog photography and oppose the reproducibility of digital photography. (more…)

  • Georg Kussmann: FRG
    Publication
    MACK
    International

    The German dramatist Heiner Müller observed that German history lies as if smothered by a rheumatism blanket: beneath there is warmth and stagnation, just enough to give the impression all is well, while the peripheries are freezing. Georg Kussmann’s photographs in FRG were created under this metaphoric blanket. Made in the Federal Republic of Germany over a single summer, they depict everyday scenes of life, work, and leisure (more…)

  • Adrianna Ault: Levee
    Publication
    Void
    International

    Adrianna Ault was raised in New Orleans where a 350 mile levee system controls and holds back flood waters. This project began as Ault attempted to better understand the landscape surrounding the city, but evolved over the course of 5-years to encompass her changing family, journeys they took and the processing of grief. The levee became a metaphor for the barriers built in an attempt to ward off inevitable decline, and the onslaught of time and nature. (more…)