Russian collaborative AES+F - Last Riot

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Media Release: February, 2008. 

Eminent international artists at City Gallery Wellington

Amid the excitement of Festival time in Wellington, City Gallery Wellington is hosting its own luminary artists. Russian collaborative AES+F’s stuninng video work Last Riot is part of the Gallery’s programme for the 2008 New Zealand International Arts Festival. Last Riot received massive critical recognition and attention at the 2007 Venice Biennale.

“It’s hard to think of a world so out of whack as this. Trains hurtle into ravines, tankers spill toxic chemicals into rivers, airplanes circle exploding volcanoes before crashing, flamingos flare pink in their lagoons… attractive young men and women perform ritual sexual argy-bargy…”

“Mythic, mad, brilliantly animated and paced, full of shocks and comic disasters, it also scared the hell out of this viewer.” …” The Guardian, UK, 12 June 2007.

Moscow based artists Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky and Vladimir Fridkes make up AES+F, stars of the Russian Pavilion’s group exhibition in Venice. Last Riot is a three channel video work that explores the dehumanising effect of a constant media bombardment of images of violence and war. In a fantasy land, reminiscent of computer gaming, war looks like an enticing game to take part in. Highly-stylised images of beautiful young people invoke Benetton commercials but are loaded with graphic actions of violence, more akin to video gaming. Set to the music of Wagner, the youths riot and struggle in a bloodless, eternal war which demonstrates no difference between aggressor and victim.

In 1987 three Moscow born artists, Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich and Evgeny Svyatsky, formed AES GROUP. Their first exhibition abroad was in 1989 at Howard Yezersky Gallery in Boston, USA. Work by AES was then shown in museums, galleries and at festivals in Russia and across Europe. Photographer Vladimir Fridkes joined the group in 1995 and the name changed to AES+F. The work of AES/AES+F has featured in numerous biennials (Venice, Lyon, Sydney, Gwangju, Tirana, Istanbul) and in a large number of important group and solo shows worldwide. AES+F’s works are held in major Russian and European institutions.

Last Riot is on loan from leading Australian international art collector, Dr Dick Quan.

AES+F: Last Riot

23 February - 15 June, 2008.

City Gallery Wellington