As part of the ‘Fashion and Style in Photography 2021’ biennale, the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow presents ‘FloodZone’, an exhibition by Anastasia Samoylova, curated by Anna Zaitseva.
Anastasia Samoylova relocated to the USA in 2008 and enrolled in a master’s program at Bradley University after graduating from the Russian State University for the Humanities. For several years she lived in Illinois and Massachusetts and taught photography, then four years ago she moved to Miami, where she threw herself into creativity, completely devoting herself to photography.
Once in Miami, the first thing that Anastasia Samoylova noticed was the climate — tropical heat, almost one hundred percent humidity, and seasonality — from July to September — showers, winds, thunderstorms, and hurricanes. Historically the population of Florida always settled at a distance from water, knowing about the instability of ocean currents. Miami, founded in 1896, originally had a population of no more than 2000.
But with the advent of air conditioning, the city began to actively develop as a resort and tourist center, primarily in Miami Beach, a small island suburb separated from the coast by a man-made canal. The tourist boom led to a construction boom. Now it is one of the most famous resorts in the United States, with prestigious and expensive housing. Due to global warming, the level of the world’s oceans is constantly rising and coastal areas of Miami are regularly flooded, but the authorities of the region, whose economy is based on tourism and development, continue to create the image of a tourist paradise with beautiful beaches, landscapes, and hotels, despite the fact that over time this area risks being completely underwater.
After moving to Miami, Anastasia Samoylova began photographing the city and its surroundings. With these images, the ‘FloodZone’ project began, as a visual exploration of the amazing paradoxes, contradictions, and contrasts that abound in South Florida. In the pictures of Anastasia Samoylova, Miami looks like a studio set: sun-faded advertisement banners inviting you to the city of dreams, skyscrapers, and shacks with mold-eaten façades, the abundant, lush vegetation with roots gnawing away at the city, bright contrasting colors of the land and houses, and water, water, water… ‘Although we are surrounded by the ocean, there is almost no ocean in the photos. The water in these pictures comes to the streets and flows through them, as if through the veins of the city. It penetrates the walls, penetrates all the surfaces,’ says the photographer.
Photography theorist David Campany writes in his preface to the book ‘FloodZone’: ‘You will find no images of catastrophe on these pages. Anastasia Samoylova is looking for other things, the subtler signs of what awaits the populations that cluster along shorelines. What is it to live day-by-day on a climatic knife-edge? What psychological state does it demand?’
The project ‘FloodZone’ makes you take a sober look at things and think about responsibility. In this case about the responsibility of politicians and developers with their cheerful encouragement to settle in a ‘paradise’ that is defenseless before the natural elements. In a global sense, this is the responsibility of humanity to subsequent generations who may never see cities that have sunk underwater, animals and plants that have disappeared from the face of the earth due to global warming, climate change, etc.
About the Author
Anastasia Samoylova is a Russian-American artist who moves between observational photography, studio practice, and installation. By utilizing tools and strategies related to digital media and commercial photography, her work explores notions of environmentalism, consumerism, and the picturesque.
In 2021 her ongoing project FloodZone will be presented in solo exhibitions at the Multimedia Art Museum Moscow, as part of the Photography Biennale; Orlando Museum of Art, as part of the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art; HistoryMiami Museum; The Print Center; and Chrysler Museum of Art. The book of the project was published by Steidl in 2019.
Anastasia Samoylova : Floodzone
9 June 2021 — 28 July 2021
Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow
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