Firstly I wish to thank Bei Guo at Midas PR for inviting me to be part of this fabulous book launch for Absolutely Augmented Reality by Kuzma Vostrikov and Ajuan Song.
Please join the authors over on Instagram at 4pm today https://www.instagram.com/kuzmacinema/ where the artists will release an exclusive video followed by a live Q&A.
Absolutely Augmented Reality features original sketches and 100 colour photographs from the artistic series “Absolutely Augmented Reality” – a collaborative art project by the New York based artists Kuzma Vostrikov and Ajuan Song. This pioneering and previously unpublished collection of iconic photographs invites the collective experience of finding beauty in art, with a dash of humour and commercialism. More than a crazy coffee table book, the experimental duo present photography as you have never seen before.
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. Presenting 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.
This 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 twenty-first century as anything becomes possible. Think McDonald’s meets Geisha, Fitz Lang’s Metropolis meets Tutankhamun and Walt Disney meets NYC downtown disco. Anything is possible.
While Song is an established Chinese multimedia artist whose widely-exhibited work examines the lyricism of the human body, Kuzma Vostrikov has worked as a filmmaker, artist and writer for over twenty years and has a special interest in the interface of psychology, technology and social media. Together their vision invites dialogue about ideas of contemporary art, authorship, technology and offers a newly subjective and visually intense view of the modern world.
To create this series, the duo created sketches for each concept, 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 comment: “Absolutely Augmented Reality is an introductory experiment in our investigation into metaphysics which creates a sense of exploration and melancholic intrigue. The book is more than just photography: it is aligned with a particular space and concentrated point in time in which it arose. In the language of modern art, it could be called “performance” but we would like to give a broader definition. A story can be forged in bronze, in words, in clay, or in shit. We want to put a sculpture in the garden, and hang pictures on the walls that will smell good. 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. Existential truth has to be lived; it can’t be proven. That’s Søren Kierkegaard.”
The photographs in Absolutely Augmented Reality are complemented by preparatory sketches and essays by Anthony Haden-Guest, Rosa JH Berland, and Lilly Wei, as well as interviews with the artists conducted by Iona Whittaker and Arnau Salvadó.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Award winning filmmaker and artist Kuzma Vostrikov’s visionary and cerebral artistic practice reflects his diverse interests including the role of technology in contemporary society, psychology, history, portraiture, photography and film. He has established a stellar reputation for innovative filmmaking and experimental and conceptual photography projects both independently and in collaboration with the artist Ajuan Song.
Vostrikov’s work can be found in international collections including the CICA Museum, Korea, The Yokyung Art Museum, Korea and The Museum of Russian Art, New Jersey. In addition to features at international art fairs, Vostrikov has participated in over twenty-five group exhibitions such as Blank Wall Gallery, Athens, Greece, 2017; CICA Museum, Korea, 2016; and Galleria De Marchi, Bologna, Italy, 2015. Select solo shows include Orange Art Foundation, New York, 2019; CICA Museum, Korea, 2018; Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, 2018; K & P Gallery, New York, 2017; The Museum of Russian Art, New Jersey, 2017; Ward-Nasse Gallery, New York, 2015; Mars Gallery, Moscow, Russia, 2012; and the National Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow, Russia, 2012.
Contemporary artist Ajuan Song is known for her innovative practice that includes analog and digital photography and multimedia works distinguished by an experimental yet lyrical sensibility. Song also collaborates with artist Kuzma Vostrikov on large-scale film and photography projects that marry conceptual art and painting in an imaginative trajectory.
Song has exhibited widely, including in over twenty group exhibits. Select solo shows include Bushniwa, New York, 2018; CICA MUSEUM, Korea, 2018; Tenri Culture Center, New York, 2018; Manhattan Graphic Center, New York, 2017; K & P Gallery, New York, 2017; and the Museum of Russian Art, New Jersey, 2017. Select group exhibits include Jankossen Gallery, New York, 2019; Orange Art Projects, New York, 2018; Barret Art Center, New York; Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton University, 2018; Highline Loft Gallery, New York, 2018; Fusion Art, New York; CICA Museum, Korea, 2017; Arte Ponte Gallery, New York, 2017; Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York and the GreenPoint Gallery, New York, 2016.