Andrew Gilbert (*1980 Edinburgh, Scotland) is an artist whose work uncovers the absurdist insanity of the modern Western imperial project by mixing historical episodes from the violent British empire with the continuing damage of the successive hegemons from the American empire, to security pacts and the brutal extractive tendencies of global capital. His work uses the powerful device of anachronism to illuminate the violence that has been purposefully hidden, excused, or dismissed as belonging to a different era by resurrecting the ghosts of these past sins and blending them with whitewashed fables that have been interwoven into national narratives
At the heart of the western path to modernization is a bizarre logic of cultural displacement which Gilbert sets centerstage. He shows us Scottish highlanders marching through Zulu land, monument fetishes celebrating Shaka Zulu Instant Coffee, and reminds us that the British forced opium on the Chinese and then forced Indians to grow tea to cut the Chinese out, making delightful products out of horrible conditions. Andrew Gilbert’s installations and drawings unite these dislocated subjects into tragicomic narrative works that continue to characterize our modern world. His works are seductively powerful meditations on a damaged Western psyche that has been exported worldwide.