Moscow-born Anna Pogossova studied Fine Arts in Sydney. With a major in Photomedia and a flair for the waggish, Anna explores the dialogue between old and new, between still life and fashion.
Would you say your art is provocative?
Not intentionally no; my objective is more playful than provocative. The erotic collages for example, were made up of many fairly mundane landscape images and household fixtures. None of these are provocative in nature, whatsoever, until they are layered in a particular way to suggest bodies. Suddenly they become something of a more pornographic nature. I think that kind of thing is quite funny.
What is the common denominator of your work? Your concept, so to speak?
There is one underlying idea across my art practice, which is concerned with the experience of familiarity in fiction. This is something I observe closely throughout the process of creating an image, or while reading fictional works. I am always thinking about how it’s communicated and read in a way, which makes sense and triggers recognition, regardless of how fantastical the content might be. This is so, whether it can be attributed to the artist’s fluency in sign and symbol, which is learned and handed down, or if there are truly archetypal forms, which are created and understood, time and time again, intuitively.
And how does this manifest in your work?
Each body of work, so far, has focused on a particular iconography, where cultural snippets were abstracted and regrouped to create an identifiable narrative. I approach every series as a kind of experiment, hoping to reveal something about the nature of our collective imagination.
Could you talk a little bit about a recent piece and the inspiration, creative processes, material etc. behind it?
I had a very clear narrative and tone in mind for the H series images, which would borrow heavily from film, particularly science fiction. I imagined a fully realised world, with very specific scenarios and locations, which I wanted to execute (the shipping container in the middle of the road, the cinema, and the billboards), in which the identities of seemingly autonomous objects are embodied, to convey aspects of the human condition from multiple heterogeneous perspectives.
Most of the works needed to be constructed as small-scale sets, which were photographed in a studio setting, and later digitally composited with real-life landscape images collected during my trips overseas. I’ve built up a library of images of various landscapes and skies, which I often pull from to construct my fictional environments. I would generally shoot two versions of everything, one on medium format film and the other on a DSLR, depending on what kind of quality I am after.
Does your work have any connection with renaissance artists?
I identify myself as someone who only works with still life, but I’m always looking for loopholes within that genre, often asking myself questions like: “how can I make the body still life? What can I get away with?” There are some elements of my images, particularly in the Empires II series, which appear to be similar in composition to that of some renaissance artists. I was thinking about Old Masters paintings at the time, and was pulling out specific forms to include, which triggered associations with classical antiquity; the columns, clouds, statues and the shell vase, pictured in Venus, which instantly reminded me of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. As I moved further along in the process, it became more intuitive and less directly referential to any particular era or style. I was more interested in the types of imagery that I instantly responded to as having seen or experienced before without being able to pinpoint where.
And finally, what is the muse of it all?