“The premise of AES+F’s new work, Inverso Mundus, is the reversal of all usual expectations.”
(From essay The Grand Magic Theatre of The World: AES+F and Inverso Mundus, by David Elliott for the exhibition at Mobius Gallery, Romania)
The concept of Inverso Mundus is rooted in the ancient Roman Empire, when during Saturnalia, the most important festival of the Julian calendar, traditional social rules were reversed as masters were called on to serve their slaves. Within the frame of contemporary society, the imagery of Inverso Mundus becomes disturbing, exquisite and timeless.
Engravings of the “World Upside Down”, known since at least the 16th century, depict such scenes as a pig gutting a butcher, a child punishing his teacher, a man carrying a donkey on his back, a man and woman exchanging their roles and dress, and a beggar in rags magnanimously bestowing alms on a rich man. These images also contain demons, chimeras, fish flying through the sky, and Death itself, variously with a scythe or wearing the mask of a plague doctor.
The title of the work, Inverso – meaning in Italian reverse or opposite and in Old Italian poetry, and Mundus – Latin for the world, hints at a reorientation of reality, a poetic vision. In AES+F’s interpretation absurdist scenes from medieval carnivals appear in a multichannel video frieze as episodes from contemporary life: characters act out scenes of absurd social utopias and exchange masks, morphing from beggars to rich men, from policemen to thieves. Metrosexual street-cleaners shower the city with refuse. Female inquisitors torture men on IKEA-style wheels and racks. Children and seniors slug it out in a kickboxing match.
Inverso Mundus was created in 2014-2015 with generous support of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Faena Art.
Streaming Museum has presented Inverso Mundus at the A View From The Cloud program of art and innovation at the United Nations Church Center on May 17, 2017 and art salon through October. We offer collectors Inverso Mundus in cooperation with AES+F, Nina Zaretskaya – curator and founder of TV Gallery Moscow, and Triumph Gallery, Moscow.