AES+F’s multi-layered spectaculars are a form of “social psychoanalysis”

In the time since its formation, the troop’s output has shifted and evolved considerably. Emphasising print, photography and painting, in the 90s AES+F were “more interested in communicating a very clear concept using the language of mass media.” Having developed a cohesive and distinctive voice during that time, the group used the decade that followed to experiment with a more multi-layered approach to concept, allegory and aesthetics.

Now, working between Moscow, Berlin and New York, AES+F push this complexity to its maximal extent – creating entire worlds inside vast multi-media tableaux. Combining ancient myth, medieval tales and popular culture these mesmerising works reflect back an exaggerated version of current societal fears and paranoia as a means of critique.

The collective’s latest work Turandot takes these transfixing multi-media spectaculars to the stage in a surreal operatic production. A piece of speculative fiction, Turandot uses the #MeToo movement as a springboard to envision a future ruled by an “authoritarian techno-matriarchy.” Hyperbolic and grotesque, the work parodies conservative narratives of female vengeance that have grown in prevalence in recent years.

AES+Fs sprawling mystical worlds are currently on show at Manezh Central Exhibition Hall in St. Petersberg. The exhibition, Predictions and Revelations, presents more than twenty years of the groups creative output, promising: “everything might not become clearer, but at least it will be more interesting.”

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