Very active in: 2000s, Current decade
The group that makes up AES+F consists of four Russian-born artists: Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladimir Fridkes. Working in collaboration, the four create a concept, discuss the story they want to illuminate and decide the best way to proceed. This could involve photography, video, installation, mixed media works, or a combination of all of the above.
In The King of the Forest, the first in a four part project by AES+F, a mythological creature based on the folklore of medieval Europe, kidnaps the best and most beautiful children, keeping them locked away in his palace. The new "King" to which AES+F refers is the contemporary mass media, a force which seduces our children at an ever-increasingly young age. The subjects in advertising, models and pop stars, start their careers in very early childhood, losing those precious years of innocence and wonder. Times Square, the archetypal image of American Media, serves as the backdrop, juxtaposing a high-paced world flooded with energy and vitality, with the innocent character of children. In the first series, the group uses a vast architectural space (The Marble Palace in Saint Petersburg) as another monumental backdrop. The artists posed young ballerinas and models against this grand opulence, underlining
the fragility of our children.
Similarly, More Than Paradise, the second installment of the project, takes place in the grand castlemosque Mohammed Ali in Cairo, Egypt. Here images of the Islamic world, often portrayed as disturbing and dangerous, are those of beauty and gentleness when populated by children.
In Witness of the Future: The Islamic Project skylines and monuments of major cities are presented as they might have appeared in 2006, when the artists projected that Islam would have conquered the globe. They are richly colored, but the humor is black and AES calls them "paranoia pictures".
The Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan is surrounded by mosques with glittering domes; the museum is given a colonnade of Islamic arches. A fearsome guerrilla band is planted in Red Square. Vienna, which was besieged by Turks in the 15th and 16th centuries, in 2006 will see its famed opera house crowned by a Turkish-style dome.
The group knew that business entrepreneurs would still reign, so they produced T-shirts hanging in rows on one wall, coffee mugs and racks of postcards with their digitized feats printed on them. In the center of the room is an arrangement of traditionally patterned rugs, but with the skylines of the future in the centers. Overhead are large banners featuring the Statue of Liberty, completely veiled.