06.09.2023  •  Art NEWS

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GoSee Book Tip : Anastasia Samoylova ‘Image Cities’ (Hatje Cantz) - a visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the urban environment

Anastasia Samoylova takes us on a journey through fictitious cities. Her photography is full of masterful refinements of the existing clichés of urban photography: Minuscule human figures, dwarfed by giant ads on billboards, stroll seemingly indifferent through city space, their faces and bodies refracted through glass like collages.

The result of an artisanal working process in which anonymous, royalty-free images from the internet are printed, cut out, assembled and montaged until they become three-dimensional, in order to return to a two-dimensional form upon being photographed.

Samoylova consciously engages with cliché, deconstructs and recomposes it, taking it to a level of pictorial sophistication that eludes any simple statement. Instead, she invites us to reflect on photography’s role in creating a gap between branded urban identity and lived reality. Ubiquitous throughout the series is a tension between the natural and the artificial, between anonymous and authorial photography.

The photographer on Instagram: All images have an agenda. They are not innocent. My photographs of images permeating public space allude to the prevalence of images in our lives beyond the public sphere; they are central to the contemporary human experience. What choices would we be making if there hadn’t been all this advertising for where to live, what to wear, drive, eat, and who to look at?

… Image-obsessed social media has exacerbated this issue, from economic displacement to over-tourism leading to serious environmental consequences to eating disorders in young people. I did not intend to photograph people engrossed in their smartphones for Image Cities; that was simply the majority of people I came across in the busy locations I visited to make the work. The same images we see on our phones manifest in physical form in public spaces – but public spaces cannot be turned off.”


Raised in Moscow, ANASTASIA SAMOYLOVA (*1984) has been living in the US since 2008. In her artistic work, she navigates the areas of observational photography, studio work and installation. In 2022, Samoylova made it onto the shortlist for the award of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation. Her works are included in the collections of the Perez Art Museum, Miami, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. Among her monographs published are ‘Floridas’ (Steidl, 2022) and ‘FloodZone’ (Steidl, 2019).

Anastasia Samoylova ‘Image Cities’ (Hatje Cantz)
Texts by: David Campany, Victoria del Val

 
Featuring: Hatje Cantz Verlag
'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

 
'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

 
'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

 
'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

 
'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

 
'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

 
'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

'Anastasia Samoylova: Image Cities' - A brilliant, perceptive visual study of the increasing integration of the photographic image and the built environment

 
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