Biennale of Sydney 2010 -The Feast of Trimalchio

Biennale of Sydney 2010 -The Feast of Trimalchio

“The Feast of Trimalchio /2009”  by AES+F , is a nine- channel animation of over 75,000 photographs. With panoramic, immersive, sumptuous colour and a loud symphonic soundtrack, it depicts a contemporary version of a famous scene from Petronius’s Satyricon. In this neo-Brechtian twenty-first-century version, an orgy of consumerism reflects on the contemporary state of both Russia and the world.”

The group that makes up AES+F consists of four Russian-born artists: Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladimir Fridkes. Working in collaboration, the four create a concept, discuss the story they want to illuminate and decide the best way to proceed. This could involve photography, video, installation, mixed media works, or a combination of all of the above.


Explanation From the Artists ….. The Feast of Trimalchio In the ‘Satyricon’, the work of the great wit and melancholic lyric poet of Nero’s reign, Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the best preserved part is ‘The Feast of Trimalchio’ (Cena Trimalchionis). Thanks to Petronius’s fantasy, Trimalchio’s name became synonymous with wealth and luxury, with gluttony and with unbridled pleasure in contrast to the brevity of human existence. We searched for an analogue in the third millennium and Trimalchio, the former slave, the nouveau riche host of feasts lasting several days, appeared to us not so much as an individual as a collective image of a luxurious hotel, a temporary paradise which one has to pay to enter. The hotel guests, the ‘masters’, are from the land of the Golden Billion. They’re keen to spend their time, regardless of the season, as guests of the present-day Trimalchio, who has created the most exotic and luxurious hotel possible. The hotel miraculously combines a tropical coastline with a ski resort. The ‘masters’ wear white which calls to mind the uniform of the righteous in the Garden of Eden, or traditional colonial dress, or a summer fashion collection. The ‘masters’ possess all of the characteristics of the human race – they are all ages and types and from all social backgrounds. Here is the university professor, the broker, the society beauty, the intellectual. Trimalchio’s ‘servants’ are young, attractive representatives of all continents who work in the vast hospitality industry as housekeeping staff, waiters, chefs, gardeners, security guards and masseurs. They are dressed in traditional uniforms with an ethnic twist. The ‘servants’ resemble the brightly-colored angels of a Garden of Eden to which the ‘masters’ are only temporarily admitted. On one hand the atmosphere of ‘The Feast of Trimalchio’ can be seen as bringing together the hotel rituals of leisure and pleasure (massage and golf, the pool and surfing). On the other hand the ‘servants’ are more than attentive service-providers. They are participants in an orgy, bringing to life any fantasy of the ‘masters’, from gastronomic to erotic. At times the ‘masters’ unexpectedly end up in the role of ‘servants’. Both become participants in an orgiastic gala reception, a dinner in the style of Roman saturnalia when slaves, dressed as patricians, reclined at table and their masters, dressed in slaves’ tunics, served them. Every so often the delights of ‘The Feast of Trimalchio’ are

spoiled by catastrophes which encroach on the Global Paradise…

ARZAMASOVA, TATIANA Was born in 1955, graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute (MARCHI) – State Academy in 1978. Lives and works in Moscow. Was occupied in conceptual architecture. Award winner «Grand-Prix» of a jointly OISTT and UNESCO competition «Theatre of Future». Participated in conceptual architecture exhibitions in London, Paris, Venice. EVZOVICH, LEV Was born in 1958, graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute (MARCHI) – State Academy in 1982.

Lives and works in Moscow. Was occupied in conceptual architecture. The prizewinner of the OISTT competition «The Tour Theatre» in Stockholm. Participated in conceptual architecture exhibitions in Milan, Frankfurt-on-Main, Paris. Worked as art director in animation film (6 films), as director in puppet animation film. Also worked as art director in film «Sunset» (live action, «Mosfilm» studio). SVYATSKY, EVGENY Was born in 1957, graduated from Moscow University of Printing Arts (department of the book graphic arts) in 1980. Lives and works in Moscow. Was occupied with book and advertising design, poster and graphic art.

Participated in international poster competitions, exhibitions of book illustration and design, graphic art. Worked as creative director in few publishing houses in Moscow («Otkryty Mir» and «Intersignal»). Artists united as AES group in 1987. FRIDKES, VLADIMIR Born in Moscow in 1956, lives and works in Moscow. Works as a photographer of fashion. Published in magazines: VOGUE, Harper»s Bazaar, ELLE, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Sunday Times Style and others. Since 1995 collaborates with AES group.

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