On September 2, you are invited to the opening of the exhibition Floridas by the American photographer Anastasia Samoylova. The artist will be present.
Florida. The political swing-state. The swampland paradise. The refuge of excess. The tourist fantasy. The real estate deception. The sub-tropical fever dream. The place where image and reality become inseparable.
Floridas, a recent series by the American photographer Anastasia Samoylova (b. USSR, 1984), documents it all in a layered portrait of contemporary Florida. The project establishes a dialogue with the oeuvre of Walker Evans, employing a visual language similar to his detached and laconic imagery. The book Floridas was published in 2022 by Steidl. It combines Samoylova’s contemporary photographs with the historic archive of Florida images by Walker Evans, obtained from The Met Museum’s digitized collection.
Anastasia Samoylova has aimed her lens at similar subjects of culture and social values as Walker Evans between the 1930s and the 1970s. Both photographers observe, document and elegantly keep subjectivity out of the frame. The semantics of the everyday and the framing angle give away the similarities between the working methods of Evans and Samoylova. There is a certain alerting hollowness behind the rust, the glossy cars and the pristine pinks of Florida’s buildings that lurks in Samoylova’s photographic work. It hides in the empty flooded garage, in the shadow of the trees on the facades, or in vibrant reflections that mirror the emptiness. Samoylova’s images are both deceptive and alluring; her compositions with a loaded depiction of colour create a slightly surreal atmosphere.
Samoylova has been photographing Florida intensively and extensively over the past few years. Pursuing one wandering road trip after the other, a traditionally male-dominated genre within American photography, Samoylova expands the field with a female perspective. She portrays Florida in all its intensity as a stark place — culturally, politically, economically and climatically.
Anastasia Samoylova (1984; lives in Miami) is a Russian-born American photographer who explores notions of environmentalism, consumerism and the picturesque. Her series FloodZone (2019), an expansive photographic project that began in 2016, responds to the problem of rising sea levels through a striking case study of Miami. Floridas is a follow-up series transgressing the subject of climate change. Samoylova’s two monographs, FloodZone and Floridas, were published by Steidl in 2019 and 2022. In 2022, Anastasia Samoylova was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize which resulted in an exhibition at The Photographer’s Gallery in London (UK) and at the Foundation’s Headquarters. Since July 2022, the George Eastman Museum in Rochester (US) houses an extensive solo exhibition of Samoylova. In 2021, her work was shown at Musée des beaux-arts du Locle (CH), Orlando Museum of Art (US), The Multimedia Art Museum (RU), The Print Center Philadelphia (US), Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk (US) and HistoryMiami Museum (US). Samoylova’s work is in the collections at the Perez Art Museum Miami, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, and Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Collection among others.