HD video installation (7-, 3-, and 1-channel versions, duration 38 min)
Engravings in the genre of “World Upside Down”, known since the 16th century, depict such scenes as a pig gutting the butcher, a child punishing his teacher, a man carrying a donkey on his back, man and woman exchanging roles and dress, and a beggar in rags magnanimously bestowing alms on a rich man. These engravings contain demons, chimeras, fish flying through the sky and death itself, variously with a scythe or in the mask of a plague doctor.
The title of the work, Inverso – both an Italian “reverse, the opposite” and the Old Italian “poetry”, and Mundus – the Latin “world”, hints at a reinterpretation of reality, a poetic vision. In our interpretation, the absurdist scenes from the medieval carnival appear as episodes of contemporary life in a multichannel video installation. Characters act out scenes of absurd social utopias and exchange masks, morphing from beggars to rich men, from policemen to thieves. Metrosexual street-cleaners are showering the city with refuse. Female inquisitors torture men on IKEA-style structures. Children and seniors are fighting in a kickboxing match. Inverso Mundus is a world where chimeras are pets and the Apocalypse is entertainment.
Islamic Project, Images
digital collage, print on glossy foil, lamination, paper mache on Forex
Paris, Notre Dame
136 x 96 cm
96 x 136 cm
136 x 96 cm
Rome, St. Peter Square
96 x 136 cm
96 x 136 cm
New York City
96 x 136 cm
Islamic Project started in 1996 as an installation and performance including interactive communication with the public: purchasing souvenirs, filling out questionnaires concerning their opinions about the Future. It works as a kind of social psychoanalysis – a visualization of Western society fears about Islam.
There are two ways of performing this work: the first is the “AES+F Travel Agency to the Future” – a fake office with all the obvious stuff and our images on posters, postcards, mugs, carpets, T-shirts, etc. It was first shown in the Guelman Gallery, Moscow in 1996. The second way is through an installation titled “Oasis”, which is a kind of Bedouin tent made from traditional handmade carpets stitched from cotton fabric, with our Islamic images printed on silk (carpets produced in Egypt). It is a place for meditation and dreaming on sofas with water pipes, Arabic music, etc.
Islamic Project was shown in Russia, in most European countries, the United States and South Korea. It was published in catalogues and albums, in some of the main newspapers (The New York Times, Forward, Liberation, Tages Zeitung, Wochenpost, Der Standard, etc.) and magazines (NBK, Art News, Art, Siksi, Art Press, etc.) from different western countries, as well as in Egypt and South Korea.
AES Group was originally formed in 1987 by conceptual architects Tatiana Arzamasova and Lev Evzovich and multidisciplinary designer Evgeny Svyatsky. Exhibiting abroad from 1989, the group expanded its personnel and name with the addition of photographer Vladimir Fridkes in 1995. AES+F’s recent work has developed at the intersection of photography, video and digital technologies, although it is nurtured by a persistent interest in more traditional media – sculpture especially, but also painting, drawing and architecture. Deploying a sophisticated, poetic dialogue among these media, and plumbing the depths of art history and other cultural canons, AES+F’s grand visual narratives explore the values, vices and conflicts of contemporary culture in the global sphere. For more than a decade, works by AES+F have been showcased in signature festivals and biennial exhibitions of contemporary art around the world.
AES+F, in KIBLA, Maribor, Slovenia, 2006
Tatiana Arzamasova (1955) graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute (MARCHI) – State Academy in 1978. Lives and works in Moscow, and is active in the field of conceptual architecture. Award winner of the Grand Prix at the joint OISTT and UNESCO competition “Theater of Future”. Participated in conceptual architecture exhibitions in London, Paris, Venice.
Lev Evzovich (1958), graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute (MARCHI) – State Academy in 1982. Lives and works in Moscow, and is active in the field of conceptual architecture. Prize-winner of the OISTT competition “The Tour Theatre” in Stockholm. Participated in conceptual architecture exhibitions in Milan, Frankfurt-on-Main, Paris. Worked as art director in animation film (6 films), as director in puppet animation films, and as art director for the film “Sunset” (live action, Mosfilm Studio).
Evgeny Svyatsky (1957), graduated from the Moscow University of Printing Arts (department of graphic arts for books) in 1980. Lives and works in Moscow. Was occupied in the field of book and advertising design, poster design, and graphic art. Participated in international poster competitions, exhibitions of book illustration and design, graphic art. Worked as creative director in Moscow-based publishing houses Otkryty Mir and Intersignal.
Vladimir Fridkes (1956) lives and works as a fashion photographer in Moscow. His works have been published in magazines like VOGUE, Harper's Bazaar, ELLE, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Sunday Times Style, and others. Fridkes joined the original AES artist group (formed in 1987) in 1995, after which the group changed its name to AES+F.
AES+F achieved worldwide recognition and acclaim in the Russian Pavilion at the 52nd Biennale di Venezia in 2007 with their provocative, other-worldly Last Riot (2007), the first in a trio of large-scale, multichannel video installations of striking originality that have come to define both the AES+F aesthetic and the cutting edge of the medium’s capacities.