Anastasia Samoylova (born 1984, Moscow; lives in Miami) moves between observational photography, studio practice and installation. In 2020 her series “Landscape Sublime” will be presented at the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Germany; as part of the Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie. In the recent years the project has been commissioned as large-scale public art installations as well as shown in a number of solo and group exhibitions, including Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design; Griffin Museum of Photography; Aperture Foundation, New York; Darkroom Detroit; Currents New Media, Santa Fe; Julie Saul Gallery, New York. It has been presented in numerous festivals in Brazil, Belgium, France, Israel, Netherlands, China, and South Korea. Anastasia’s work is in the collections at the Perez Art Museum Miami, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago and ArtSlant Collection in Paris.
When was the last time you did a Google image search using the word “landscape”? The results are glorifying images begging to be paired with inspirational quotes. Holiday brochure exaggerations in saturated colors and picture-perfect light. Conformist and conventional, such depictions are less of the real landscapes than a simulacra of the feelings they are meant to evoke. The algorithms of popular taste and fantasy have taken to an extreme those notions of the sublime landscape that took hold in 18th century western art. I search online copyright-free image libraries for various landscape pictures. Deserts. Glaciers. Tropics. Storms. Forests. Waterfalls. Mountains. These are collated, printed out, cut, folded, assembled in the studio as sculptural environments, and finally re-photographed.
The process is largely improvised, built up element by element much the way we surf the Internet from one image to the next. The results are real world collages taking the form of still life tableau compositions of landscape types. At a closer look there is also a world of imperfection here – creases, props, dust, even reflections of the room in which I work. The images are records of their own making. Perspective is shattered in the manner of cubism or constructivism, each image contributing to the larger whole. At the same time Landscape Sublime extends the Pop sensibility of James Rosenquist and Robert Rauschenberg, a form that comes from our image-based world while opening up a space to rethink it.
To view more of Anastasia Samoylova’s work please visit her website.