Anastasia Samoylova — Image Cities
Hardcover, 30 x 24 cm
Published by Hatje Cantz, 2023
168 pages, images in full colour
Texts by David Campany, Victoria del Val
€ 50,00 + shipping
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In her project IMAGE CITIES, Anastasia Samoylova documents the contemporary deployment of monumental propaganda strategy in New York, Tokyo, London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Moscow, and Paris — but rather than revolution, this propaganda is in service to the market economy. IMAGE CITIES illustrates the growing power of images and the flattening of the cultural and geographic differences that define these metropolises.
Instead of sculptures and statues, massive images cover the city itself. In a long-term visual study of the rapidly changing urban environment, Samoylova explores the expanding consolidation of the image and city-space, a consolidation that has resulted in an ominous, homogenizing effect. The monumental products, architectures, and figures that populate Samoylova’s images communicate an uncontested vision for the global city: one that is privatized, impersonal, and consumable. What’s being sold is less the object, more the subject. An ideology of lifestyle.
As technological advancements expand the potential of images to be produced at larger and larger scales, Samoylova captures the uncanny compositions that go beyond advertising and enter new, uncharted territory. It would be tempting to read Image Cities as polemics against the triumph of consumerism, whose generic visual codes are changing everything that once felt local. Samoylova’s shots are masterful reminiscences of urban photography: human figures, eclipsed by huge billboards, who seem to move indifferently through the urban space and whose fragmented silhouettes are reflected in the shop windows like a collage. Samoylova deliberately plays with these clichés, deconstructing and recomposing them on a higher level that defies overly simple statements. Instead, she invites us to reflect on the role of photography itself in creating a gap between cities’ staged brand identities and their everyday reality.