“Image Cities” by Anastasia Samoylova guides us through urban landscapes ranked highest by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network based on their level of “global interconnectedness.” Within these cities, a concealed transformation unfolds behind facade-like structures, carrying an air of heightened anticipation. While it might be tempting to interpret these photographs as a critique against the dominance of consumerism and the gradual numbing of a global visual-economic order that envelopes what was once local and civic, Samoylova’s photography goes beyond simple polemics.
Samoylova’s work skillfully refines the familiar clichés of urban photography, portraying citizens diminished by towering images, faces and bodies distorted through glass, and a Pop-Cubist visual bricolage. Tiny human figures wander seemingly indifferent through city spaces, mentally transcending their immediate surroundings into a collage of different places and times. Despite engaging with cliché, Samoylova deconstructs and reassembles it, taking a gamble that elevates it to a level of pictorial sophistication that defies straightforward arguments or statements. Instead, she encourages us to contemplate the role of photography in creating a gap between a city’s brand identity and its everyday reality.
About the Author
Anastasia Samoylova, born in 1984 in Moscow, embarked on a transformative journey when she moved to the United States in 2008. There, she pursued and attained a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Art from Bradley University, Illinois. Currently based in Miami, Florida, Samoylova’s artistic exploration delves deep into the nuanced interplay between the staged facade of bombastic materialism and the palpable reality that underlies it.
Her distinctive artistic expression merges collage-like details with the narrative of the road trip genre, a fusion evident in her recent acclaimed series, “Flood Zones” and “Floridas.” This unique approach has garnered significant attention and praise, placing her at the forefront of contemporary artistic discourse.
Samoylova’s international presence is marked by exhibitions at renowned venues such as the Aperture Foundation in New York, the Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston, the Suwon Photography Festival in South Korea, and the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China. Her work has found a home in esteemed collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the ArtSlant Prize collection in Paris.
In 2015, Samoylova was honored with an artist residency at Latitude Chicago, further cementing her position in the art world. Her photographic contributions have graced the pages of prestigious publications like the New Yorker and Foam magazines, showcasing her ability to captivate audiences with her visual narratives. The culmination of her early work and artistic evolution is encapsulated in her first monograph, “Landscape Sublime,” released by In-Between Editions in June 2016. Through her lens, Samoylova invites us to contemplate the intersection of perception, reality, and the ever-shifting landscapes of contemporary existence.