The Moscow-born photographer Anastasia Samoylova is said to have the spirit of a flâneur: she likes to wander aimlessly through a city, finding pleasure in scrutinizing her surroundings while remaining unnoticed. As a good observer, attentive to the transformation of urban territory, she provides a witness account of how globalization and capitalism have been altering the relationship of the subject with the city, surrendered to the logic of consumerism.
In her latest work, Image Cities, this innovator of documentary photography has focused on the proliferation of advertising images in public spaces. Images on a monumental scale that are integrated into the architecture, creating a strange effect, as ambivalent and contradictory as the times we are living through.
The series of photographs are on display at the Mapfre Foundation’s KBr photography center in Barcelona and will be shown in Madrid in June. The images resemble a collage where reality is integrated with fiction to condense a set of visual ideas that offer the viewer multiple meanings. It is also a portrait of big cities that all look increasingly like each other. In the photographs, the human figure appears diminished, indifferent to its surroundings, just one more element within a set of elements of a different nature, of geometric shapes, demonstrating a skillful interplay between the figure and the background. Samoylova’s collage of places and times also explores the use of female images in contemporary society.