16.03.2024 – 30.11.2024
Anastasia Samoylova 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.
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.
With her colorful, collage-like details of reality, she transports the colorfulness of New Color Photography, which was once considered vulgar, into the present. In 2023, C/O Berlin presented Samoylova’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany, which was curated by Dr. Kathrin Schönegg.