Thursday, 20 October 2011
For anyone riding down Swanston Street and St Kilda Road it would become apparent that a swarm of demon babies has descended upon Melbourne. Numbering seven in total, they stretch from the Melbourne Town Hall to the Arts Centre forecourt. These Angels-Demons, to give them their correct name, are a product of the talented and internationally renowned Russian collective, AES+F, and they are making their stop-over here for the duration of the Melbourne Festival.
These grand Neo-Baroque sculptures cannot be missed due to their sheer size and commanding presence. The attraction to them is instantaneous, as we are naturally drawn to anything that has to do with babies – if the multi-billion dollar baby industry and the increasing proliferation of baby photos on Facebook are anything to go by.
But the fascination is also borne by the innumerable visual dichotomies and psychological paradoxes contained within these sculptures. The very title of these works already points towards the inherent dualities with which the artists have imbued their works. Angels-Demons have no distinguishable gender or race; they are simultaneously playful yet threatening; unmistakeably human yet with atavistic dragon tails, bat wings, and horn protrusions; reminiscent of the innocent and harmlessly mischievous putti and yet so visibly demonic.
The babies’ pink and puffy skin has been replaced here by hard, black, cold and gleaming surfaces, which reflect everything around them. By gazing at these sculptures, we involuntarily end up seeing our own reflection perhaps recognising in the process the aspects of inherent multiplicities within ourselves.
[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011]