AES+F

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AES+F
AES+F in Venice, 2015.jpg
AES+F at opening of Inverso Mundus, Venice Biennale 2015. Left to Right: Evgeny Svyatsky, Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Vladimir Fridkes
Nationality Russian
Known for Photography, Video Art, Installation
Notable work Islamic Project, The Liminal Space Trilogy, Inverso Mundus
Awards Kandinsky Prize
Website http://aesf.art

AES+F is an artist collective of four Russian artists: Tatiana Arzamasova (1955), Lev Evzovich (1958), Evgeny Svyatsky (1957), and Vladimir Fridkes (1956). It was first formed as AES Group in 1987 by Arzamasova, Evzovich, and Svyatsky, becoming AES+F when Fridkes joined in 1995. The collective works in photography, video, installation, and animation, as well as more traditional media, such as painting, drawing, and sculpture. AES+F's early work included performance, installation, painting, and illustration. Well known for their monumental video-art installations that Gareth Harris describes as "monumental painting set in motion[1]", AES+F create grand visual narratives that explore contemporary global values, vices and conflicts.[2][3][4]

Members[edit]

Arzamasova, Tatiana[edit]

Tatiana was born in 1955 in Moscow, where she graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute (MARCHI) – State Academy in 1978. Prior to founding AES Group, Tatiana was a conceptual architect. She participated in conceptual architecture exhibitions in London, Paris, and Venice, .[3]

Evzovich, Lev[edit]

Lev was born in 1958 in Moscow, where he graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute (MARCHI) – State Academy in 1982. Prior to founding AES Group, Lev also worked in conceptual architecture. He participated in conceptual architecture exhibitions in Milan, Frankfurt-on-Main, and Paris. Lev also worked as an art director in film.[3]

Svyatsky, Evgeny[edit]

Evgeny was born in 1957 in Moscow, where he graduated from Moscow University of Print Design in 1980. Prior to founding AES Group, Evgeny worked in book illustration, advertising, and graphic design. Evgeny also worked as the creative director for publishing houses in Moscow.[3]

Fridkes, Vladimir[edit]

Vladimir was born in Moscow in 1956, where he worked as a fashion photographer prior to joining the collective. His work was published in many leading fashion magazines: VOGUE, Harper's Bazaar, ELLE, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Sunday Times Style and others.[3]

Career[edit]

AES+F began their career as AES Group, with Arzamasova, Evzovich, and Svyatsky forming a collective in 1987. The collective exhibited internationally for the first time in 1989 with a solo show at Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston, and a performance at the Carpenter Center at Harvard University in Cambridge. The group expanded with the addition of the photographer Vladimir Fridkes in 1995 and subsequently changed its name to AES+F. The collective achieved worldwide recognition and acclaim in the Russian Pavilion at the 52nd Biennale di Venezia in 2007[5] with Last Riot (2007), the first in a trilogy of large-scale, multi-channel video installations that have come to define the AES+F aesthetic. The second of the series, The Feast of Trimalchio (2009), appeared in Venice in 2009, and the third, Allegoria Sacra (2011), debuted at the 4th Moscow Biennale in 2011. Together, all three projects premiered as The Liminal Space Trilogy in September 2012 at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, and the Moscow Manege, the central exhibition hall of the artists’ home city. The Trilogy was shown in the Museum of Fine Arts in La Chaux-De-Fonds, Switzerland (June–September 2014). Most recently all three videos were shown at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (June–September 2015).

AES+F have exhibited at numerous international festivals: (namely the biennales of Venice, Lyon, Sydney, Gwangju, Moscow, Gothenburg, Havana, Tirana, Istanbul, Bratislava, Seoul etc.), ARS-06 (KIASMA, Helsinki). Their works appear in some of the world's most important collections, such as Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Musée de l'Elysée (Lausanne), MOCAK (Kraków), Sammlung Goetz (Munich), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), Art Gallery of South Australia (Adelaide), and the Museum of Old and New Art (Tasmania), Centre de Arte dos de Mayo (Madrid), Center Georges Pompidou (Paris), and the Louis Vuitton Foundation (Paris). Their work is represented in some of Russia's principal national museums, such as The State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), and the Multimedia Art Museum (Moscow).

AES+F's newest project, Inverso Mundus, was presented at the 56th Venice Biennale as a collateral event at the Magazzini del Sale.

Works[edit]

Islamic Project - Central Park by AES+F, 1996. Source: http://aesf-group.com/projects/islamic_project/

Islamic Project (1996-2003)[edit]

Islamic Project began in 1996 as a performance and public intervention. AES+F created the "AES Travel Agency to the Future," an imitation of a travel office with subversive materials - souvenirs from a future in which the influence of Islam has been superimposed upon all of Western culture in the form of architectural and cultural transformations. In one of the images, the artists transformed the Statue of Liberty to show her in a Burka, holding a Quran; in another, they prophetically depict the New York skyline absent of the Twin Towers. According to AES+F, "it is a kind of social psychoanalysis - a visualization of fears of Western society about Islam[6]". The project has been met with attempts to censor certain imagery when it was shown in the New Art Gallery in Walsall, United Kingdom in 2006.[7]

In 2000, AES+F created another installation in the form of a Bedouin tent titled "Oasis". This installation consists of a series of traditional carpets, each with imagery from the Islamic Project printed on silk in the center. The artists imagined Oasis as a place for meditation, complete with traditional hookah and Arabic music.[6] Oasis was first exhibited at the La Caixa Foundation in Barcelona, Spain.

Islamic Project has been shown in most European countries, as well as the United States and South Korea.

King of the Forest (2001-2003)[edit]

The King of the Forest is a trilogy of projects inspired by Erlkönig, the Ogre - a mythological creature of medieval Europe and also the subject of an eponymous novel by Michele Tournier. The King of the Forest stole beautiful children from nearby villages and kept them in his palace. According to AES+F, this series of projects concerns itself with the theft of youth by mass media culture - a contemporary analogue to the medieval Ogre.[8]

In AES+F's King of the Forest, the artists created three videos on different continents - Le Roi des Aulnes in St. Petersburg, More than Paradise in Cairo, and KFNY in New York. The first in the series, Le Roi des Aulnes, was shot at Catherine the Great's palace in Tsarskoye Selo. The second, More than Paradise, was shot at the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. The final project in the series, KFNY, was shot on Military Island in Times Square. In each of the three projects in King of the Forest, the location reveals the culture that assumes the role of the mythical creature - abducting children.

The Liminal Space Trilogy[edit]

The Liminal Space Trilogy attempts to analyze the 21st century from the perspective of a centuries-old art-historical tradition of depicting Hell, Heaven, and Purgatory.[2] The trilogy is presented as three projects consisting of video installations, prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures. It is set respectively in a video game landscape, an exotic luxury resort, and a futuristic airport, each of which is depicted as a unique surrealistic fantasy that explores contemporary themes.[9]

Last Riot (2005-2007)[edit]

The project consists of an HD video installation (3- and 1-channel versions), series of stills from the video, series of pictures, series of drawings, series of sculptures

Last Riot premiered at the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007, earning AES+F significant global recognition and acclaim. The work pushed the boundaries of the medium of video art, introducing original technique and a visual language unique to AES+F.[2] Last Riot depicts an imagined future digitally manipulated where snow-capped mountains sit next to desolate beaches, neon dragons rest atop oil platforms, planes collide without flames, and a band of attractive teens with completely ambiguous and detached facial expressions are engaged in ritualistic battle with one another and with themselves.[10][11] It is a virtual reality populated by children and adolescents, where there is no real empathy or pain - a simulation in cyber-space that combines the real and the virtual, creating a post-apocalyptic vision of a world where the mythologies of all cultures are intermingled with the myths of contemporary media-culture.[2]

Conceived as a reflection of the 21st century, Last Riot raises questions regarding Western values, and reflects contemporary Western mythology without passing judgment. The visual ethos of Last Riot is rife with allusions to art history, from Caravaggio[2] and Baroque painting, to Romanticism, combined with contemporary visual culture in the form of advertising, film, and video games, and traversing the aesthetic line between beauty and ugliness.[12] AES+F describe the world they created as a "paradise [that] is a mutated world where time is frozen and the past is neighbor to the future. Its inhabitants are devoid of gender, becoming more like angels,[11]" where all of the heroes are rebels in a computer-generated world devoid of ideology, history and ethics.

The Feast of Trimalchio (2009-2010)[edit]

The project consists of an HD video installation (9-, 3-, and 1-channel versions), series of pictures, series of stills from the video, series of portfolios with photographs and drawings.

The second project in the Liminal Space Trilogy, The Feast of Trimalchio, is titled as such in reference to the epic "Satyricon" by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, namely, the Cena Trimalchionis, which describes the life of a wealthy former slave who hosts gluttonous and orgiastic feasts. In AES+F's The Feast of Trimalchio, an imaginary island with an absurdly luxurious resort-hotel, which is a de-personification of Petronius' Trimalchio, serves as a "temporary paradise" that guests pay to enter.[13] The island's landscape combines a tropical beach with a ski resort, with scattered structures simulating the architecture of ancient Rome. The masters, clad in full-white attire, span all ages and social strata, while the "servants" are attractive youths from colonized lands of different continents, dressed in traditional ethnic garb and working in Trimalchio's hotel as its permanent staff.

The Feast of Trimalchio is a deconstruction of the self-obsessive and indulgent behavior of modern civilization and is an allegorical symbolization of a mass-media generated version of Heaven.[2] The guests of the hotel indulge in all of the contemporary pleasures perpetuated in advertisements of resort getaways, from leisurely fitness to "body purification," while the viewer sees any notion of social hierarchy dissipate as the masters begin to court the servants, acting out their fantasies of a Roman Saturnalia.[1] The pleasures in AES+F's Feast of Trimalchio are intermittently interrupted by catastrophes that are simultaneously tragic and comical.

Allegoria Sacra, Knight and Death, by AES+F. 2012 Source: http://aesf-group.com/projects/allegoria_sacra/

Allegoria Sacra (2011-2013)[edit]

The project consists of an HD video installation (5-, 3-, and 1-channel versions), series of pictures, series of stills from the video.

Allegoria Sacra is the final part of the Liminal Space Trilogy. Named after Giovanni Bellini's eponymous painting which hangs in the Uffizi Gallery, AES+F's Allegoria Sacra represents Purgatory. Taking place in a futuristic international airport, Allegoria Sacra serves as a metaphor for limbo, where the souls of "righteous sinners" await their fate.[14] The characters that inhabit Giovanni Bellini's masterpiece, from biblical figures to mythological creatures, were transposed and sometimes reinterpreted by AES+F. The Saracen-Muslim was transformed into a group of refugees. St. Sebastian became a young, shirtless traveler, hitchhiking his way through tropical countries, while Apostle Paul is represented as an airport policeman. However, AES+F's piece is more of an allegory of contemporary life than a reinterpretation of Giovanni Bellini's painting. As the travelers enter dream-like states, the airport and the aircraft undergo several metamorphoses, while the landscape and the climate go through four phases - from being a snowy field to a desert, a jungle, and finally becoming an endless river Styx.[14]

Maintaining their signature style,[15] AES+F combine recognizable motifs from art-history and pop-culture, such as the numerous allusions to Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey.[9] Allegoria Sacra weaves complex global issues into visually compelling metaphors, letting them unfold in the neutral transitory space of an airport, where all kinds of things can temporarily coexist before going to their destination.

Allegoria Sacra won the Sergey Kuryokhin Award 2011,[16] the main award of the Kandinsky Prize 2012,[17] the main award of the NordArt Festival 2014,[18] and the Pino Pascali Prize 2015 (18th Edition)[19].

Awards[edit]

  • Sergey Kuryokhin Award 2011
  • Kandinsky Prize 2012
  • NordArt Festival 2014
  • Pino Pascali Prize 2015 (18th Edition)
  • Bronze Medal (2005) from Russian National Academy of Fine Arts
  • Gold Medal (2013) from Russian National Academy of Fine Arts

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Harris, Gareth "The Best Times AES+F" In AES+F: The Liminal Space Trilogy, edited by Joe Lin-Hill, Elena Krishtoff, Martin Richling, Andrej Trofimov, pp. 37-47. Moscow: Triumph Gallery, 2012. ISBN 978-5-904334-39-0
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sviblova, Olga; Harris, Gareth; Reisman, Sara (2012). AES+F: The Liminal Space Trilogy. Triumph Gallery, Moscow. pp. 5–7. ISBN 978-5-904334-39-0. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Biography ‒ AES+F". aesf-group.com. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  4. ^ "Radical Russian artwork on show at UQ". Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  5. ^ "A riotous assembly arrives from Russia | The Times". Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  6. ^ a b "Islamic Project ‒ AES+F". aesf-group.com. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  7. ^ Smee, Sebastian. "Viewfinder: New Freedom 2006". Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  8. ^ "King of the forest ‒ AES+F". aesf-group.com. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  9. ^ a b Reisman, Sara. "To Hell and Back: AES+F’s Trilogy." AES F the Liminal Space Trilogy : Au Seuil Du Paradis Et De L'enfer. By Lada Umstätter, Olga Sviblova, Gareth Harris, and Musée Des Beaux-arts (Chaux-de-Fonds). Milano: SilvanaEditoriale, 2014. 115+. Print.
  10. ^ Klaasmeyer, Kelly (2008-01-23). "Danse Macabre: AES+F". Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  11. ^ a b "Last Riot ‒ AES+F". aesf-group.com. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  12. ^ Kerstin, Mey (2010). AES+F – more than just a matter of (bad) taste. Liverpool University Press and Tate Liverpool, Liverpool. pp. 99–118. ISBN 978-1-84631-192-5. 
  13. ^ "The Feast of Trimalchio ‒ AES+F". aesf-group.com. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  14. ^ a b "Allegoria Sacra ‒ AES+F". aesf-group.com. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  15. ^ Hirsch, Faye. "BE AFRAID, BE IN LOVE: COLLATERAL EXHIBITIONS IN VENICE". Art in America, September 2009. pp. 113–117 – via EBSCOHost. 
  16. ^ "О премии — Центр современного искусства им. Сергея Курёхина". kuryokhin.net. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  17. ^ "Grisha Bruskin and AES+F Collective Awarded 2012 Kandinsky Prize". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  18. ^ "NordArt Homepage". www.nordart.de. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  19. ^ "AES+F - PINO PASCALI AWARD IN 2015". Retrieved 2016-08-01.