Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov (b. 1988, Moscow)
Stationed to work alongside the Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC), Ilya investigates the ways in which we receive and transmit information regarding illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. His work picks apart different streams in healing practices, exploring both traditional scientific/medicinal approaches to managing HIV/AIDS, as well as alternative healing rituals (including homeopathy, shamanism or various forms of witchcraft). By creating a 'conflict' between the different approaches and challenging superstition or misinformation surrounding HIV/AIDS, Ilya strives to make us reflect on our own biases.
Biography and General Background
Originally from Moscow, Russia, Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov has a multilayered academic background in Genetical Bioengineering, Philological Sciences, and artistic installation practice. He graduated from the Contemporary Art School of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMoMA), as well as from Moscow’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA).
Ilya’s portfolio includes a vast number of solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries across Russia and the European continent. He participated in the VII Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art (2017) and has recently undertaken residencies for Residency.ch (Bern, Switzerland) and the Centre D’Art La Rectoria (Barcelona, Spain).
His works are currently being showcased at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMoMA) and Anna Nova Gallery (Saint Petersburg, Russia).
Artistic Motivations and Interests
The recurring motif of Ilya’s artistic practice is the manipulation of natural scientific knowledge.
The artist transposes and adapts its defining features to his own domain, namely the depiction of biological processes and forms from the cell to the habitat; the linguistic features and ways of presenting knowledge through formulas, drawings, illustrations; the methodological principles and types of representation of scientific data through entomological collections, catalogues. With the help of these techniques, he reveals the subjective nature of the acquisition of knowledge and its dependence on individual experience and bias.
“Currently the environmental challenges the world faces have never been greater or more complex. The problem of the relationship between nature and man was never as acute as it is today. The usual mechanisms to deal with this disconnect do not function anymore.
My artistic and professional aim is to explore nature as a universal channel of communication. I want to help create this language in progress, as well as any special arrangements towards the classification and unification of these forms of natural communication to better understand one another and the world surrounding us.”
AFEW Culture Initiative Collaboration Statement
Ilya’s project The Poisons Museum is an ode to (dis)information. It is dedicated to the problematics of the global transmission of information and misinformation, and how poisonous, if not deadly, these can be.
Ilya believes that one of the biggest dangers associated with the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia, affecting now approximately two million of its inhabitants according to the Federal AIDS Center, is the non-circulation and apparent lack of information and knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS, driving individuals to question its existence or draw uninformed associations from the available materials.
The project, supported through sustained research with the Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC), will include an installation comprising a variety of artifacts, in turn emulating the set-up of a scientific museum. The exhibition will be reminiscent of a laboratory in which poisons are studied and experimented with. Its aesthetic boundaries will swindle intermittently between a visually primitive way of understanding the world and the image of a site devoted to modern science, together with all the incoherences of intertwining the two.
At first glance, all information provided as part of this arrangement will appear to be well structured and cohesive, but what the ‘laboratory’ gains in matters of appearance will be lost in non-linearity in the presentation of its messages. As accumulated knowledge loses its power, only a mirage will be left behind, supported superficially by the idealisation of the laboratory as a ‘real' museum.