From Sharne Wolff…
AES+F take their unconventional name from the first letter of the surnames of four Russian artists who first originated as a collective of three in 1987. Their work, which varies from video installation and photography to sculpture, painting and drawing, has been shown in this country on previous occasions (including the 17th Biennale of Sydney) although the current Angels-Demons exhibition showing with the Sydney arm of Anna Schwartz Gallery is the group’s first solo show in Australia.
The ‘Angels-Demons’ referred to in the title are, in fact, gleaming black oversize human babies. Each highly polished sculpture, constructed from fibreglass, steel and enamel, wears nothing but a nappy and poses on a low shiny red pedestal. Some spurt bat-like wings, others have grown a tail or tiny horns. The sculptures are reminiscent of the past – with strong references to gothic gargoyles and the infants portrayed in Renaissance art – but the slick look of fibreglass means they’re just as comfortable in the 21st century. The use of human babies by AES+F is intended to bridge racial and cultural barriers. The sculptures combine the characteristics of good and evil, virtues which generally appear at opposite ends of the spectrum, into one creation. While babies are also symbols of new life and optimism for the future, these black devils come with a warning attached.
Until April 13
Anna Schwartz Gallery, Darlington.
Pic: AES+F Angels-Demons Installation view, Anna Schwartz Gallery Sydney. Courtesy the artists, Anna Schwartz Gallery & Triumph Gallery.