Arts & Culture 14 December 2015 6 508

Immersed in Moscow

Alexander James is an established artist from London. For his new collection, he packed his studio in a truck and drove it all the way to Moscow where he rents the cellar of an old factory. At first, the space is uninhabitable but necessity is the mother of invention and Alexander soon has everything ready for his new project, including a large pool of water. A stream of unusual people and things pass through the makeshift studio, all part of the process by which Alexander James produces the most unusual and mesmerising photographic art works. Alexander has few rules but one is sacrosanct, the final image must be a true representation so there can be no post-production or manipulation.

Related: Russian artist travels around the world, paying his way with his art.

Alexander James combines many art forms to create images that are reminiscent of the old masters. Art enthusiasts may recognise famous masterpieces referenced in his work. The artist believes that the camera should do more than simply document reality; it should project a unique vision and his Russian collection, “Distil Ennui”, seeks to reveal the essence and beauty of life. Water is skilfully employed to adjust reality to creative effect. Certain aspects of Alexander’s technique are kept secret, as he has worked hard to develop and master a process that gives his work an enigmatic feel, midway between reality and dreams.

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Several practical and bureaucratic difficulties surrounding his art project though were far from dreamlike. Faced with new challenges at every step of the way, Alexander is determined to view them as an adventure and experience but as the problems pile up, there are times when the whole endeavour appears to be in jeopardy. The unusual adventures of an unusual Englishman in Moscow, only on RTD.

Watch this film in Russian

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