SURREAL TALK
ENTER ABSOLUTELY AUGMENTED REALITY

Let’s escape these dire times and plunge headfirst into this new exhibition at Hoxton 253.

If only we knew at the time of releasing our Escapism Issue – way back in February B.C. – how much we’d actually want to do just that for the whole of 2020. Hit daily with a news cycle rotated by some sort of diabolical centrifugal force and confined in localised bubbles, we’re all feeling a little ready to pop.

Art, though, is a true escape. Sometimes it imitates life, sometimes life imitates art; other times, it lets us fly away into a parallel universe, or, better, something totally surreal altogether. We’ve all been deprived of art in recent months, and the government is content with retraining and derailing the scene entirely, so anything we can get our eyes on is much appreciated.

Enter ‘Absolutely Augmented Reality’, the latest project at Hoxton 253 that promises to do just that and take us away somewhere else for an hour or two.

Featuring the work of New York-based photographers Kuzma Vostrikov and Ajuan Song, it’s a series of trippily constructed images set on candy-coloured backgrounds and dripping with surreal mischief.

The duo of image-makers worked alongside renowned art producer Halime Özdemir (British Museum, White Cube) and curator Chelsea Pettitt (Head of Arts for the Bagri Foundation) to select twenty of their favourite images to move the viewer into a twisted unreality.

As Özdemir puts it: ‘If Magritte and David Lynch were to conceive a lovechild on a bed of Chinese kitsch this would be Absolutely Augmented Reality.’ That quote alone, in true synesthesia style, is likely to get the eyes of any surrealist fan tingling.

While purely photographic, there’s a sense that there’s an extra dimension or two going on here. Sketches, film and photos meld together to tell stories of social media, future technologies and authorship, with copy-and-paste pastiches of classic artworks along the way.

Basically, if you can get yourself down here, rules allowing, go for it. For just a couple of hours, you’ll be able to enter a world away from the new normal that we currently know – no support bubbles, just a surreal one.

Absolutely Augmented Reality takes place from 10 November to 10 December at Hoxton 253.

Words by Kyle MacNeill / main image 'Antiquated Lips' by Kuzma Vostrikov and Ajuan Song courtesy of Absolutely Augmented Reality

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