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PH Egor Zaika


First formed as AES Group in 1987 by Arzamasova, Evzovich, and Svyatsky, the collective became

AES+F when Fridkes joined in 1995. AES+F work at the intersection of traditional media, photography,

video and digital technologies. 


They define their practice as a “social psychoanalysis" through which they reveal and explore the values, vices and conflicts of contemporary global culture.


AES+F achieved worldwide critical acclaim in 1999 for their Islamic Project, which depicted various

Western postcard city landscapes manipulated to appear colonized by Islam. 

AES+F cemented their reputation as a contemporary art powerhouse in the Russian Pavilion at the 52nd Biennale di Venezia in 2007 with their provocative Last Riot, the first of their now signature large-scale, multichannel video installations. 

Following a large survey exhibition in 2007 at The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, AES+F's next three large video installations titled The Feast of Trimalchio, Allegoria Sacra, and Inverso Mundus debuted at the 53rd Venice Biennale, 4th Moscow Biennale, and 56th Venice Biennale respectively. The group has had more than 100 solo exhibitions at museums, exhibition spaces, and commercial galleries worldwide. AES+F works have been shown in such institutions as the Tate Britain (London), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow), MAXXI and MACRO Future (Rome), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid), HAM (Helsinki), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Leeum Samsung Museum of Art (Seoul), National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Faena Art Center (Buenos Aires), and many others.

AES+F, Inverso Mundus, 2015

Single-channel video, sound, 39’39”. Courtesy of the artists.

Inverso Mundus takes as its initial reference point the sixteenth-century carnivalesque engravings in the genre of “world upside down,” an early form of populist social critique that emerged with the advent of the Gutenberg press. The project’s title intermingles ancient Italian

and Latin, based on a century-old layering of meaning, combining inverso, the Italian “reverse” and old Italian “poetry,” with Latin mundus, meaning “world.” Inverso Mundus reinterprets contemporary life through the tradition of engraving, depicting a contemporary world consumed by a tragicomic apocalypse whereby social conventions are inverted to highlight the underlying premises that we always take for granted. Metrosexual garbage collectors douse the streets in sewage and refuse. An international board of directors is usurped by their impoverished doppelgangers. The poor give alms to the rich. Chimeras descend from the sky to be caressed like domestic pets. A pig guts a butcher. Women clad in cocktail dresses sensually torture men in cages and on devices styled after IKEA furniture in an ironic reversal of the Inquisition.

Preteens and octogenarians fight a kickboxing match. Riot police embrace protesters in an orgy on a massive luxurious bed. Men and women carry donkeys on their backs, and virus-like Radiolaria from Haeckel’s illustrations loom over and settle on oblivious people occupied with taking selfies.

The soundtrack of the video is an amalgamation of Léon Boëllmann’s 1895 Suite Gothique, an original piece by contemporary composer and media-artist Dmitry Morozov (aka VTOL), along with excerpts from Ravel, Liszt, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky, with a particular emphasis on “Casta Diva” from Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma.

The video work premiered as a 7-channel, 40-meter-long video installation in the former Venice salt warehouses as a collateral event of the 56th Biennale in 2015, with a participatory performance staged at the opening of the exhibition featuring actors dressed as “Inverso

Mundus Police” lounging on the giant bed with Fortuny fabrics from the video and beckoning visitors to join them. The video installation was subsequently shown in its single-channel, 3- or 7-channel versions at the 6th Moscow Biennale (2015), the Kochi-Muziris Biennial (2016), the National Gallery of Australia (2017), and the 1st Bangkok Biennial (2018), among other venues. Other works in the project include a monumental digital collage, Inquisition, a series of oil

paintings, colored pencil drawings, and the torture devices from the video as stand-alone sculptural objects. The objects, drawings, and paintings were first exhibited at Moscow’s Triumph Gallery in 2015 as a special project of the 6th Moscow Biennale.

In 2017 AES+F expanded the project with the addition of a series of digital collages composed of a set of 12 vertical “Stillages” featuring characters from the video arranged on shelves in a surrealistic trompe l’oeil. The “Stillages” were shown for the first time as part of the collective’s survey exhibition Theatrum Mundi at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva in 2018, together with a selection of paintings and torture devices from the project. Inverso Mundus was

subsequently presented in various exhibitions around the world featuring selections and combinations of works from the project. Notable solo exhibitions include Galeria Senda in Barcelona in 2016, followed by the Claudine and Jean Marc Salomon Foundation in France the same year; the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, in 2018; Predictions and Revelations at St. Petersburg’s Central Exhibition Hall “Manege” in 2019, What Came to Pass at Tang Contemporary Art in Beijing in 2020, and Lost, Hybrid, Inverted at the Jeonnam Museum of Art in South Korea in 2021.

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