Contemporary art such as that which can be found at the main Russian art museum in Moscow by artist Francisco Infante-Arana can leave you quite mesmerized. The Muscovite Infante-Arana was raised by his Russian mother and although his name may sound Hispanic, is every bit a Russ. He at present lives in Moscow and does most of his work in collaboration with his better half, wife Nonna Gorunova. Infante-Arana’s photography has this distinct quality of being exceedingly eye-catching. His craft involves the use of simple objects like mirrors, cords, foil, or even ordinary shadows.
The work is created mostly all in-camera. Portraits of Russian snow covered forests reflected, distorted and warped into unfamiliar terrain; flower fields looking like doorways into other realities, as well as geometric shapes contradicting physics.
It is refreshing work that catches your expectations off balance, a wonderful body of work that is visually engaging utilizing mirrors in brilliantly creative ways. Infante-Arana’s work is devoid of any post editing software or any form of digital manipulation, and yet the husband and wife tandem manage to create stunning sculptural land art that redefines the landscape.
It is usually thought that throughout the Soviet era there was no alternative art in Russia. Portraits of Lenin, Stalin or scenes of static Soviet life seemed to be the only visuals emerging from that period. The works of Infante-Arana and Nonna Gorunova are therefore even more remarkable, considering they were created during that period of great upheaval and artistic restraint. Not only are these picture free of any computer manipulation, but they belong and are well entrenched in the film era, being from the 1970s and 1980s.
Francisco Infante-Arana attended the Moscow College of Decorative and Applied Arts. In 1964, he formed an artists’ collective known as the Movement Group. He was and still is one of the foremost Russian avant-garde artists. Some of his work is on display at the Cold War Modern exhibition at the V & A in London.
See his photographic interlude with mirrors and landscape here.