“ I am excited to present my work for the first time in Asia at UP Gallery and deeply curious to hear the audience’s response to my images that address the climatic issues that are well known in Taiwan. From one subtropical locale to another, I wonder how my observations from Florida would relate to the visitors of the exhibition that are intimately familiar with what it feels like to live in an environmentally threatened place. For me, it is a bittersweet feeling. I am thankful for the introduction to the gallery by the writer David Campany who edited both of my books and projects presented in the exhibition: FloodZone and Floridas.” — Anastasia Samoylova
UP Gallery is delighted to announce the first solo photography exhibition in Asia by Anastasia Samoylova. Against the backdrop of the scorching July heat and the peak season of typhoons in Taiwan, the devastation caused by natural disasters has seeped into our daily lives and become a norm. Not unfamiliar with the aftermaths that it causes for the country’s infrastructure, and people’s livelihoods disrupted, we have also learned the source of these hardships comes full circle to how we treat the land that we inhabit. The gallery hopes our audiences can resonate and reflect on Samoylova’s works as the artist delves into a familiar subject matter and perhaps even so slightly mimicking our own experiences.
Under a fresh perspective and a region roughly over 14,000 km away from us, Samoylova photographs America’s coastal cities whilst focusing on Florida. Moving to Florida in 2016 the artist has been intensively filming in the area and both series that are exhibited in the gallery have transitioned from a commentary on the state to a broader exploration of the underlying problems facing America. Tropical sunshine, palm trees, tourist’s paradise and where notably Walker Evans filmed, connotations of Florida may have been already strongly embedded in viewers’ hearts. Under Samoylova’s gaze architectural configurations, alarming dampness and floral fruition are intricately intertwined to present her distinct style as the series unfolds. Despite the vibrant and beautifully pastel-toned aesthetic of the images, they all subtly point towards the looming threats of hurricanes, rising sea levels, and climate change. Complicating matters further, photographs of the computer-generated property billboards, promoting idyllic futures to sustain the thriving real estate market, also make an appearance in the series. The stark contrast between natural catastrophes and man-made paradises creates a sense of friction within Samoylova’s picturesque works. These works engage with the emotional and evocative interpretations they evoke, rather than providing a direct reportage. Carefully selected works from the series FloodZone and Floridas will be presented in the ground floor gallery space.
On the second floor, tucked intimately in the gallery’s VIP room, are four pieces from Samoylova’s Breakfasts series. This ongoing side project is the artist’s firm nod to all the photography masters that have inspired the photographic community. Through their great works that long live from exhibitions to photo books, Samoylova pushes herself to deeply look, study and aspire during one of the most casual but intimate meals of the day: breakfast. By placing assortments of fruits, pastries, eggs, utensils and beverages alongside the main image, the artist reimagines the thought of enjoying a meal and a conversation with the artist and their works that she films. A special highlight in this exhibition is three new works created especially for this solo. In these pieces, Samoylova ventures into uncharted territory, as she seeks to “have breakfast” with Asian photography masters Masahisa Fukase, Shomei Tomatsu, and Daido Moriyama. This endeavour showcases the artist’s exploration of cultural exchange and her desire to establish a connection with the legacies of these influential Asian photographers.
The gallery is confident that this carefully curated selection will serve as an excellent introduction to Anastasia Samoylova’s major works and her artistic career for our Asian audiences. By showcasing a variety of series, including the evocative photographs capturing the underlying problems of America in Florida, as well as the intimate and interactive Breakfasts series, viewers will gain a comprehensive understanding of Samoylova’s artistic vision and the themes she explores. The exhibition aims to provide a glimpse into the breadth and depth of Samoylova’s artistic journey, allowing Asian audiences to appreciate her unique style, technical prowess, and conceptual approach. The selection of works is designed to engage viewers, provoke thought, and foster a connection between the artist’s vision and their own experiences. By presenting a diverse range of her major works, we aim to spark curiosity, dialogue, and appreciation for the artist’s talent and her exploration of pressing issues and universal themes.