AES+F: CAPTURING GLOBAL PSYCHOSIS THROUGH VIDEO PAINTINGS

AES + F isn't the latest hyper modern collective triumphing on Instagram because of conceptual challenges and innovative artistic trends... Quite the contrary. This Russian collective was born in 1987, and for decades it has captured global psychosis in their 24 fps video paintings.

There is a meme that consists of an unlikely image alongside the caption guess the country. Such as: a half-naked girl holding vodka bottles and a military rifle. Guess the country. A bear fighting an old man (in which it seems the bear has it worse). Guess the country. A boy cutting a birthday cake with a chainsaw. Guess the country. We already know which country we are talking about without having to guess too hard. That's Russia for you. Guess the country's never been easier.

After all, we tend to associate this nation with some of the most inhuman and surreal nonsense of recent times. That's why it's so interesting that AES+F is an artistic Russian collective that feeds on that nonsensical energy and transforms it into multidisciplinary works capable of opening an almost terrorist dialogue not only with Russian society itself, but also with the rest of the world. If Russian absurdities fascinate us, it is precisely because they are a large-scale simplistic extrapolation of the ones we live with day in, day out.

The collective AES Group has been working on the verge of art since 1987, when it was founded and named after the letters of the surnames of Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich and Evgeny Svyatsky. The group was renamed AES+F when, in 1995, Vladimir Fridkes joined them to continue exploring the values, inconsistencies and vices of global culture. Their work is some kind of social psychoanalysis that strays away from literary essays and uses the transmedia of photography, video and digital technologies. A proposal as attractive from the visual point of view as complex from the conceptual one, defined by a triptych of multi-channel, large-format video installations: Last Riot (2007), The Feast of Trimalchio (2009) and Allegoria Sacra (2011). Together, the three works of The Liminal Space Trilogy represent a sort of obscurantist and politicized review of the bright colors, plastic and mysticism of David LaChapelle's paintings.

Luckily though, in the last decade, the Russian collective has pledged to overcome their limits and seek new creative boundaries. They dared to bring their post-technological vision to ancestral arts such as theater and opera... Always referring to the present time, as their Instagram account shows. In the end, if you come across a piece by AES+F, any of it, you wouldn't be able to play guess the country. There is no room for jokes. Just for reflection. And devotion.