For Reigning in Russia, the final Wallpaper* issue covering the four BRIC nations, the magazine has commissioned a limited-edition cover artwork by Moscow-based artist collective AES+F.
This issue's limited-edition cover is a still taken from a new video piece, Reincarnation, created by AES+F exclusively for the magazine's Russia issue. In a Wallpaper* first, the video piece will be available to buy as a 'digital painting,' in an edition of 1,000.
The video piece derives from AES+F's work Allegoria Sacra (2011 - 2012), which is inspired by Renaissance master Giovanni Bellini's own artwork of the same name. The Russian artists' take on purgatory is transplanted to the modern international airport, where grounded passengers (many of the characters taken directly from Bellini's painting) are suspended in time and place.
The issue's limited-edition cover image depicts three white-clad stewardesses, sourced straight from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, surrounding a chubby-cheeked infant with a reptilian tail. The image exemplifies the group's part slick, part humorous, part sadistic tone.
Lev Evzovich of AES+F explains that the image, a fragment from a larger 'digital painting,' is a parody on Christmas, "because," he says, "on the one hand, the baby is born as a reincarnation of a very old man who is present in the film. On the other hand, this is the idea of some kind of new humanity, new man - maybe he will have a tail? We think humankind will have some kind of mutation in the future."