Last week a group of famous Russian artists “AES+F” came to Barcelona to present their new project called “Mundus Inverso” in gallery Senda. It was our second meeting with them after cultural artistic gatherings in Taganskaya Studio of Dima Hunzelweg in Moscow. This time I managed to ask a bunch of questions about their art projects and creative process. Here is the result of our conversation that I am happy to share with you.
First of all, I should properly present the artists. They are four friends who work and create together for almost 30 years already.
AES Group was originally formed in 1987 by the conceptual architects Tatiana Arzamasova and Lev Evzovich and the multidisciplinary designer Evgeny Svyatsky. Exhibiting abroad from 1989, the group expanded its personnel and name with the addition of the photographer Vladimir Fridkes in 1995. AES+F’s recent work has developed at the intersection of photography, video and digital technologies. AES+F’s grand visual narratives explore the values, vices and conflicts of contemporary culture in the global sphere.
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.
Mundus – the Latin “world” and Inverso – is both an Italian “reverse, the opposite” and the Old Italian “poetry,” which alludes to the art processing. In AES+F 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.
I do recommend to watch this 30 min video project to experience the “world upside down” and think about the question “What if…?” After finishing watching “Inverso Mundus” your mind wants to continue turning the world upside down and creating alternative realities all around you.
Where to go?