SHOWS THAT MATTER: AES+F's "Angels-Demons" at Anna Schwartz
WHAT: AES+F “ANGELS-DEMONS”
WHEN: February 16 – April 13
WHERE: Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney, Australia
WHY THIS SHOW MATTERS:
Russian art collective AES+F (Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovitch, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladimir Fridkes) are renowned for their bold comments on social, moral, and cultural issues. Their latest body of work, “Angels-Demons,” currently on show at Sydney’s Anna Schwartz Gallery, consists of seven large-scale black sculptures of asexual, amoral infantile beings of differing nationalities.
The purposely ambiguous sculptures are a reflection of the degradation of distinct moral boundaries, distinct genders, and distinct cultural identities; the combination of youth and good/evil characteristics suggests that the young people of today are both the saviours and saboteurs of civilisation as we know it.
At once both alluring and disturbing, the black mirror finish encourages interaction between the sculpture and the viewer while at the same time threatens to evoke a self-reflective investigation of the viewer's own character and personality.
“The distinct difference between angels and demons, which is common to all cultures, does not exist here. Evil may look like good and vice versa,” the artists explain. “We can't tell which gender as they're at the age when human infants have a strong outward resemblance to each other and are impossible to tell apart. They have the faces of peoples who never settled in Europe but towards whom Europe strived.”
The suite of sculptures is described by AES+f as an apocalyptic parade that is not the end of the old world but the beginning of a new one. The artists have deliberately distanced themselves from their morbid but quite believable prediction of the ultimate fate of the human race, insisting instead that the work focus a lens on the unarticulated hopes and fears generated by these babies.