University: London College of Communication and Goldsmiths, University of London

Graduation: 2009, 2010

GenreConceptual Art


Artist Statement: Non-Linearity. Counter-static. Aura. Exploration. Displacement. Fluidity. Unheimlich. Frequencies. Traces. Chance configurations. Observation. Mythologies. Intermittence. Post-structuralism. Immersion. Dissonances. Apparatus. Suspension. Passages. Urgency. Intuition. Sonic adventures. Turbulence. Authenticity. Questioning. Pilgrimage. Relativity. Metamorphosis. Amplification. Process. Synthetic. Light. Interrelations. Puzzle. Sensation. 

Ben Frost , Corsica Studios, London, 2014 

Ben Frost, Corsica Studios, London, 2014 

Where did you attend university and what year did you graduate? I have quite an extended and diverse scholarly experience. I studied International Law in Russia for five years before moving to the United Kingdom to study arts in 2006. First I gained a bachelor’s degree in Photography from London College of Communication, and after it was Goldsmiths, MA in Digital Media, I graduated in 2010. 

What are some standout moments from your time at university? Being in the environment of art school was a continuous standout. Encountering challenges was a standout. Discovering the connections between the seemingly disparate things and theories, linking the macro-cosmic to the personal and vice versa. There were many everyday highs and lows, of course, yet I will always remember those times as the flow punctured by the tart smell of the chemicals from the darkroom, the editing screens gloaming in the darkness, and the ‘eureka’ moments transcending you some place beyond the barricades of books in the library. Wish I realised much earlier how relevant was and still is some feedback I received from tutors, and how important it is to stay truthful to the self, and to never lose curiosity and the urge for experiment. 

Images  from the series  Out of Sight

Images from the series Out of Sight

Which photographic genre do you consider your work to fall into, and what themes do you find yourself exploring? I find it slightly discomforting to tag my photography and to place it within the framework of the existing genres, or to delineate its stylistic/thematic character. It is certainly influenced by ‘subjective’ documentary approach, hence it is more about observation rather then about pre-mediated construction. Yet construction is nevertheless taking place, it always is. I’m creating fictional narratives using the material found in reality. The obscure, ambiguous nature of the things, elusive qualities of light, the fluidity of sensations, and shifting the temporal - these are encouraging my artistic exploits.

Can you tell us about any collaborations you’ve been a part of? The most long-running collaboration I’m a part of, is with a musician and producer Ulrich Schnauss, who is also a good friend of mine. We’ve been doing audio-visual performances together for about three years, I directed a few music videos for him, and most recently produced the art-works and design for his upcoming album, No Further Ahead Than Today, it will be released in the late spring. Another collaboration is with a sound designer Parachute Pulse - we devised the project called UNSTITCH - an exploration of wildness and individuality, combining choreography, performance, music and video. 

From the series  The Land of Plenty

From the series The Land of Plenty

Tell us about your MA in Digital Media. What encouraged you to complete this course? It was an immense fascination with the post-modern condition, the theories of phenomenology and deconstruction and their actualisation by the means of medium-bending artistic practices that encouraged me. I followed my desire to gain a deeper critical, historical and philosophical perspective on the times we live in, and on how the technologies we so much depend on transform our modes of being and making. Moreover, doing a Master’s degree at Goldsmiths tremendously contributed to my practice and motivated me to experiment more with video and live visual performance, to think deeper, not to mention it was instrumental in an absolutely invaluable expansion of my knowledge base. 

Is social media important to you as a working photographer? It might be tempting to take an ‘anarchic’ stance and to say ‘no’, but that wouldn’t be genuine, as social media is important to most of us. Being integrated in the bottomless pool of social media became almost as customary as brushing teeth. However, there’re different ways of using social media - subversive, unconventional, etc. For me, quality dominates over quantity, and there’s always a mute inner questioning going on whether a certain update is worth sharing, how relevant is that to my (current) work, or research, or my general interest in and involvement with art. In the era of the overabundance of information, particularly that of the visual kind, it is tremendously important to be self-critical and considerate both of the nature, and the form of your message. I’m not obsessed with collecting the numerous ’clicks’ and accumulating ‘likes’, what I’m seeking for - is a deeper connection, happening ‘behind’ the screen, a spark of a frank curiosity, resonances and affection of a great complexity and strength. Besides, being a participant in the social media frenzy, helps me to analyse from the ‘inside’ how its mechanisms operate, to detect the patterns of human behaviour, and to grasp a ‘wider’ picture. 

Images from the series  The Land of Plenty

Images from the series The Land of Plenty

Your use of colour and black & white in your projects is intriguing. Why have you done this? All the artistic choices I’m making are largely intuitive, transmitting a certain grain, or an undertone of a feeling/mood. And feelings and moods to be pure don’t require any supplementary explanations, at least not from the person behind the camera. The viewer would find their way to decipher the enigmas. 

From the series  The Persimmon’s Fruit

From the series The Persimmon’s Fruit

Can you tell us about your use of video in your work? Video is not less, but equally as crucial as photography for me, and it has to do with my interest in exploring the spatio-temporal parameters and ‘metaphysical zones’. Perhaps, only music could compare with video in its potency to alter time, and to escort the viewer into the labyrinths of a dream-like, hypnotised state. Video requires more concentration and confronts us the enduring tension of a higher degree, yet it also presents the limitless possibilities for contemplating visually on the issues of a more ‘philosophical’, or transcendental nature, for distorting the temporality, juxtaposing and layering the contexts. Working with video allows to reflect on and engage with photography afresh. 

Have you got a favourite photograph you’ve taken, or a favourite series? My work is very much an ongoing, open-ended, self-negotiating process per se. All the favourites belong to the future, and the future is uncertain. Though I would dare to say, my upcoming book, The Persimmon’s Fruit, is something I’m rather content with.

What is your camera of choice? The range of Fuji mirrorless cameras.