First formed as AES Group in 1987 by Arzamasova, Evzovich, and Svyatsky, the collective became AES+F when Fridkes joined in 1995. AES+F's early work included performance, installation, painting, and illustration. AES+F’s recent work has developed at the intersection of photography, video and digital technologies, although it is nurtured by a persistent interest in more traditional media — sculpture especially, but also painting, drawing and architecture. Deploying a sophisticated, poetic dialogue among these media, and plumbing the depths of art history and other cultural canons, AES+F’s grand visual narratives explore the values, vices and conflicts of contemporary culture in the global sphere.
AES+F achieved worldwide recognition and acclaim in the Russian Pavilion at the 52nd Biennale di Venezia in 2007 with their provocative, other-worldly Last Riot (2007), the first in a trio of large-scale, multichannel video installations of striking originality that have come to define both the AES+F aesthetic and the cutting edge of the medium’s capacities. The second of the series, The Feast of Trimalchio (2009), appeared in Venice in 2009, and the third, Allegoria Sacra (2011), debuted at the 4th Moscow Biennale in 2011. United as The Liminal Space Trilogy, this tour-de-force series was premiered in September 2012 at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, and the Moscow Manege, the central exhibition hall of the artists’ home city, and has since been shown on many occasions at various museums and festivals. In 2015, AES+F premiered the new project, Inverso Mundus, at the 56th Biennale di Venezia. Inverso Mundus was later shown at the Kochi-Muziris Biennial and a number of other museums and festivals all over the world.
For more than two decades, works by AES+F have been showcased in signature festivals and biennial exhibitions of contemporary art around the world, including — in addition to Moscow and Venice — those of Adelaide, Gwangju, Havana, Helsinki, Istanbul, Kiev, Lille, Lyon, Melbourne, St. Moritz, Sydney, Taipei, Tirana and Toronto. Their work has also been featured in influential events devoted to new media — such as ARS Electronica (Linz), Mediacity Seoul and Video Zone (Tel Aviv) — and photography — such as FotoFest (Houston), Les Rencontres d’Arles and Moscow’s Photo Biennial.
By now the subject of more than 100 solo exhibitions at museums, exhibition spaces and commercial galleries worldwide, works by AES+F have been shown in such venues as the Tate Britain, ZKM (Karlsruhe), Casino Luxembourg, Kiasma (Helsinki), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow), the Moderna Museet (Stockholm), the Passage de Retz (Paris), the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium (Brussels), MACRO Future (Rome) and MAXXI (Rome), the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid), and many others.
Their works appear in some of the world's principal collections of contemporary art, such as Moderna Museet (Stockholm), MOCAK (Kraków), Sammlung Goetz (Munich), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Art Gallery of South Australia (Adelaide), and the Museum of Old and New Art (Tasmania), Centre de Arte dos de Mayo (Madrid), Center Georges Pompidou (Paris), and the Louis Vuitton Foundation (Paris), the Vanhaerents Art Collection (Brussels), Taguchi Art Collection (Tokyo), and many others. Their work is also well represented in some of Russia's principal national museums, such as The State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), the National Center for Contemporary Art, and the Multimedia Art Museum (Moscow).
AES+F received Sergey Kuryokhin Award 2011, the main award of the Kandinsky Prize 2012, the main award of the NordArt Festival 2014, and Pino Pascali Prize 2015 (18th Edition) – all for the project Allegoria Sacra. AES+F were also awarded a Bronze Medal (2005) and a Gold Medal (2013) by the Russian National Academy of Fine Arts.