“Saturated in vibrant colours, Kuzma Vostrikov and Ajuan Song offer a carnival for the visual senses, referencing pop culture, surrealism, fashion, philosophy, and film, forcing us to question what does 'Absolute' really mean?” (Chelsea Pettitt, Exhibition Curator)
New York-based international artists Kuzma Vostrikov and Ajuan Song have announced the new dates to stage their first major photography exhibition in the UK at Hoxton 253 which has hitherto been postponed due to Covid-19.
This summer, the artistic duo will transform the gallery space into a super-charged immersive and sensory experience and are working with international arts producer Halime Özdemir (projects include The British Museum, The Royal Academy of Arts, White Cube) and curator by Chelsea Pettitt (former curator of Hayward Touring now Head of Arts for the Bagri Foundation). This exuberant, colourful and poetic ensemble of an exhibition is pure indulgence for the senses after 2020’s exhaustive and grey year.
Through Absolutely Augmented Reality, American filmmaker, writer and artist Kuzma Vostrikov together with Chinese multimedia artist Ajuan Song explore the intersection of fine art and photography through a series of saturated theatrical and symbolic images. Their photography presents a dream world of strange and alluring portraiture, accompanied by a host of archetypal images, hybrid creatures, quirky motifs, canonical postures, as well as inversions of iconic art historic references including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Rene Magritte, Wilhelm Shenrok, Tom Wesselmann, Fernando Botero, Yayoi Kusama and other artistic greats.
Absolutely Augmented Reality is their largest collaborative body of work using costume, character, and allegory to create a new and intense view of the modern world within the visual culture of the 21st century as anything becomes possible. This exhibition allows us to further delve into the curious and enigmatic world of the dynamic artistic duo. To create this series, Kuzma and Ajuan’s initial sketches for each concept were followed by a highly refined orchestration of the imagined narrative scene, using models, costumes, and props. The stunning photographs were taken using a medium format film camera Hasselblad H1 and or 35mm film camera Canon EOS1V with Kodak Professional Ektar 100 colour negative film.
Kuzma Vostrikov and Ajuan Song said: “We are prisoners of our imagination and our circumstances. The work selected for this exhibition in its own way an image of our quarantine. More than just photography, our work is an investigation into metaphysics which creates a sense of exploration and melancholic intrigue. Absolutely Augmented Reality is more like an existential experiment, a collection of visually poetic statistics on the subject reflecting on the circumstances of the observed object. We’re photo-existentialists practicing anthropological symbolism.”
Chelsea Pettitt, Curator of Absolutely Augmented Reality comments: "It is a joy to see such dream-like, handcrafted images by Kuzma Vostrikov and Ajuan Song as part of Absolutely Augmented Reality. Vostrikov & Song create these metaphysical lands and characters from a place of urgency, full of imagination; their words echo revolution. As rebellious figures, longing for freedom, they've found themselves in New York; the city where anything can happen. No wonder they view their life, their reality, as surreal - one and the same. I look forward to presenting news ways of looking at their augmented reality in this exhibition, for both the artists, and the visitor.”
The photographs in Absolutely Augmented Reality will be complemented by an essay written by Chelsea Pettitt and Anna Jimenez which will be organised into three distinct parts, each one examines the ways in which the symbolism and imagery are used in their work, within the context of certain historic or cultural canons. These include Symbolic Anthropology, Pop Culture and counterculture of their early years, and Ways of seeing in metaphysical time and space.