Anastasia Samoylova

Floridas
Jan 28 – May 4, 2023
Flamingo Reflection, 2018 © Anastasia Samoylova

Anastasia Samoylova (b. 1984 in USSR) scratches the flamboyant surface of an American dream in a place where the public image is characterized by beaches and palm trees, where pink flamingos romp in front of colorful buildings and alligators find their way into pools. On her photographic road trip through Florida, Samoylova shows the Sunshine State as a shimmering fantasy and subtropical dystopia that is equally marked by its deep political divide and by the impact of the climate crisis.

Empty Lots, Mexico Beach, 2021 © Anastasia Samoylova
Beachgoer, Naples, 2021 © Anastasia Samoylova
While investigating the sociocultural identity of the famous swing state, Samoylova shows how Florida is a symbol of the polarized politics of the United States and its complex past. Her pictures depict urban centers with their deceptive advertising and luxurious real estate as well as desolate areas and wild nature. She also makes portraits of the people she meets along the way, all of whom call Florida their home despite their differences. Samoylova’s works tell of colorful emptiness, bombastic materialism, and cultural artificiality, revealing incompatibility, existential threats, and dreariness. Her pictures track down numerous contradictions and challenge the many identities of Florida.

Against the background of this dichotomy of staged perception and reality, Samoylova employs strategies of commercial photography in her artistic practice to investigate topics such as environmental protection, consumerism, and the picturesque. Her photographic observations of everyday life link her work to legendary American photographers such as Berenice Abbott, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans, who in their day also explored the country on road trips. As a photo artist of the present, she breathes new life into the typically American genre of road trip photography and imposes a female perspective on the genre’s predominantly male view of America.

Except Sunday, Panama City Beach, Florida 2021 © Anastasia Samoylova
Venus Mirror, Miami, 2020 © Anastasia Samoylova

With her colorful, collage-like details of reality, she transports the colorfulness of New Color Photography, which was once considered vulgar, into the present. Shown concurrently with the major retrospective of the work of color photography pioneer William Eggleston, C/O will present Anastasia Samoylova . Floridas from January 28 to May 4, 2023. Following the publication of her recent monograph on the subject by Steidl, this is the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany.

Biography

Anastasia Samoylova (b. 1984, USSR) is an American artist who moves between observational photography and studio practice. Her work explores notions of environmentalism, consumerism and the picturesque. Recent exhibitions include Eastman Museum; Chrysler Museum of Art; The Photographer's Gallery, London; Kunst Haus Wien; HistoryMiami Museum; and Museum of Fine Arts, Le Locle. In 2022 Samoylova was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. Her work is in the collections at the Perez Art Museum, Miami; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; among others. Published monographs include Floridas (Steidl, 2022) and FloodZone (Steidl, 2019).

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