Anton Zabrodin recently returned to his hometown of Kaliningrad, where he continues his investigations into the meaning and uses of contemporary photography. Often exploring the documentary and fictional character of the natural landscape and the frictions with the cultural, political, and economic layers of meaning ascribed to it by society, Zabrodin extends his archive of images to surfaces such as credit cards, flags, postcards, and even paintings in order to test the landscape and the various ideological narratives attempting to recuperate it. Zabrodin’s longest running project, presented at the triennial, is New Flags (2012– ). He transforms the emblem of the nation state, its flag, by printing onto it the landscapes of border spaces, bringing to light the total disengagement with the real landscape at the state’s boundaries. Zooming in, it becomes apparent “how borders disappear on a human scale or, on the contrary, completely block communication between two parts of a natural whole,” as the artist puts it. In another recent series, Irony as a Landscape (2015), Zabrodin takes a landscape disembodied of symbolic meaning and adds cultural signifiers such as flashing street or shop signs, turning it into a performative version of itself that looks painfully familiar. Simultaneously, the work questions the endless stream of images proliferating on social media today.
Anton Zabrodin (b. 1984, Kaliningrad, Russia) lives and works in Kaliningrad. He graduated from Immanuel Kant State University, Kaliningrad (2006) and the Russian State University for the Humanities (2011), before studying at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2013). He has been a member of the Kaliningrad Union of Photo Artists since 2016. Group exhibitions include: Irony as a Landscape, Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow (2016); Sincerity, Sackheim Gate, Kaliningrad (2015); Bona Vivo, 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2015); Here, The Other Side, APT Gallery, London (2014); The Bounds of Action, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (2014); MMXIII, Perimetr, Moscow (2013); Upbringing, Fabrika Center for Creative Industries, Moscow (2013); Photobasis. Contemporary Object Photography, Russian Museum of Applied Arts, Moscow (2013); Strength of Materials, Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2013); and Telling the Baltic, Gdansk Science and Technology Park, Gdansk (2012).