28 March 2008

A groundbreaking video installation will open at the UQ Art Museum this evening and screen free to the public at St Lucia until May 11.

Created by Russian group AES+F, Last Riot was shown to popular and critical acclaim at last year’s Venice Biennale and has since been shown at some of the world’s most famous galleries.

Museum director Nick Mitzevich said the work was a confronting and innovative choice which set the tone for exhibitions to come.

“One of the areas the Museum is exploring is the moving image and what better way to start the UQ program than with one of the most celebrated video works of recent times,” he said.

Projected across three large screens, the 19-minute video is set in a changing virtual landscape where planes and trains crash and missiles threaten destruction.

With the help of CGI wizardry the artists have transformed human models into “avatars” – depicting them in combat with one another in a 3-D world at war with itself.

“The artists use animation, digital technology and photography and meld them all together. In a sense it’s a performance, it is like a huge living painting, and is often reminiscent of Renaissance painter Caravaggio and tableaux from the time,” Mr Mitzevich said.

“The work looks a like a video game, CG animation movie, fashion shoot and music video rolled into one and the result is totally compelling.”

Operating on a continuous loop and featuring music by Wagner, Mr Mitzevich said Last Riot promised a complete sensory experience.

“You’re surrounded by the artwork because the screens are concave, you’re also surrounded by sound so it’s quite an intense environment, and that adds to the drama.

“The video is ambitious and while it gives a very bleak view of the world, it’s accomplished in such a theatrical manner that it leaves you feeling uplifted.”

AES+F formed in 1987 and is named after the beginning of the artists’ surnames: Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky and Vladimir Fridkes.

Their work focuses on photography, computer and video-based art, along with the use of traditional media such as drawing, painting and sculpture.

The UQ Art Museum is the only venue on Australia’s east coast to stage Last Riot, with the exhibition complementing the University’s Russian language and cultural studies program which is unique in Queensland.

The official opening takes place at 6pm this evening, with attendees including Mrs Elena Kozhina, Cultural Attaché of the Russian Embassy, and Mrs Irina Bruk, Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation to Brisbane.

Kindly supported by Moscow’s Triumph Gallery and Dr Dick Quan, Last Riot is on show from 10am-4pm, Tuesday to Sunday, with parking free on weekends.

Media: Nick Mitzevich (0434 361 383, n.mitzevich@uq.edu.au) or Peter Liddy (07 3365 9782, p.liddy@uq.edu.au) at the UQ Art Museum or Cameron Pegg at UQ Communications (07 3365 2049, c.pegg@uq.edu.au)