Russian-born artist Anastasia Samoylova reflects on our global climate crisis in nuanced photographic installations that hint at impending existential disaster.Read More
Samoylova was born in Moscow, Russia. She earned a Master's degree in Environmental Design from the Russian State University for the Humanities in 2007. When she was 23, she moved to the United States, where she received an MFA from Bradley University in 2011.
Through luminous yet often fragmented photographic series, Anastasia Samoylova reveals how our environmental awareness is shaped by mass-produced imagery.
Samoylova's works romanticise nature photography by splicing images of mountains, flowers, oceans, and nature into twisted, disorienting compositions. In her 'Landscape Sublime' series (2013–2014), Samoylova composes multifaceted, jewel-like images from generic stock photos of landscapes. Her process involves appropriating copyright-free images of landscapes from the internet, then collating, printing, cutting, and assembling them in the studio into three-dimensional sculptures, which are then re-photographed.
In Black and White Mountains (2015), this method is apparent, with images of snow-capped mountains cropped into pointed planes of paper, a kind of shattered perspective of a mountain in a Cubist or Constructivist manner. Image and object collide, their boundaries blurred; creases, dust, sometimes even parts of her studio emerge, shifting our attention between image and form with dizzying effect.
Beaches (2014) makes this approach explicit, constructing cubes through photographic gradients snipped from Flickr photos of the shore. Rainbows (2014) is even more abstracted, with a technicolour collage of semi-circles cut through with diagonal bands of colour. Throughout this series, Samoylova invites us to contemplate the infinite range of images we use to describe 'landscape' and the effect this overwhelming onslaught of imagery can have on our perception of nature.
In 'FloodZone' (2016–ongoing), Samoylova tracks the consequences of climate change along South Florida's shorelines, which are receding due to rising sea levels. Beginning in Miami in 2016—the hottest summer on record at the time—the project contrasts the seductive tropical paradise of the city against its rapidly expanding real-estate market in dangerous flood zones.
Photographs and layered collages detail the mass-marketed lifestyle of Miami Beach through depictions of high-rise apartments, construction work, and luxury interiors, but with the threat of the encroaching climate crisis embedded throughout. In many of the images, flooding water and decrepit infrastructure reveal the dissonance of capitalist growth in an environmental emergency. Samoylova frames the project as dismantling utopian advertising imagery, revealing how the global issues we face are concealed by images that have been created in service of capitalist propaganda.
Samoylova has been the subject of solo and group exhibitions worldwide.
Select solo exhibitions include FloodZone, The Photographer's Gallery, London; Eastman Museum, Rochester; and The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia (2022); Floridas, Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid and Galerie—Peter—Sillem, Frankfurt (2022); Grand Canyons, Musée des Beaux-arts, Le Locle, Switzerland (2021); FloodZone, Orlando Museum of Art, Florida; Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; and Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid (2021); Landscape Sublime, State University of New York, Geneseo (2016); and Landscape Sublime, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design; Good Children Gallery, New Orleans; and Pearce Gallery, Illinois (2015).
Select group exhibitions include America in Crisis, Saatchi Gallery, London (2022); An Ode To Nature, Musée des Beaux-arts, Le Locle, Switzerland (2021); After Us, the Flood, Kunst Haus Wien, Vienna (2020); Lush Green Tropical Jungle, Dot Fiftyone, Miami (2019); Made in The Studio, Julie Saul Gallery, New York (2018); Re:Collection, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2017); and Summer Open, Aperture Foundation, New York (2016).
Samoylova's website can be found here. Her Instagram can be found here.
Peter Derksen | Ocula | 2022