This week's Spotlight Artist, Anne Vinogradoff, was born in Paris in 1966 into a family of performers. She received two MA’s in environmental sciences before deciding that her future lay in a career as a dancer and choreographer. She soon developed a passion and fascination with photography and for ten years she avidly photographed her friends in the performing world. Moving her photography practice to the next level she graduated with distinction from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art in 2010. Female performers expressing their femininity surrounded her during the time she spent in the performing arts and reveal women as a recurring subject in her images.
Vinogradoff is particularly interested in exploring the cultural construct of women’s status in society and the way it influences our actions and beliefs today. Her approach is intended to be both powerful and engaging. Anne often refers to history, sociology and science but also takes a concealed autobiographical approach. Through aesthetics and conceptualism, she sees her projects as tools with which she acquires knowledge about herself as well as the society that we live in and that shapes us.
Anne’s ambition is to raise many questions about the established dogma of our culture by exploring themes related to women and freedom, as well as exploring her own corruption and the guilt attached to it.
She strives to create something unique and beautiful with a visual tension between the aesthetic of the image and the seriousness of the subject. Her exploration of the classic form of the western paradigm that creates hierarchy -‐ God, man, woman, children, animal and nature -‐ is meant to be thought provoking.
The matt black that is a trademark in Vinogradroff’s recent work represents her acknowledgement of the enduring age of darkness we live in.
To learn more about Anne, we asked her some quick questions:
How did your history in dancing and choreography influence your art?
Dancing is a very intimate part of my life. I grew up in the backstage of a prestigious cabaret in Paris, Les Folies Bergères where my mother was a dancer. I was surrounded by naked women with gorgeous body as a child and as an adult when I became a dancer myself, so there is no doubt it influenced strongly my own aesthetics as an artist.
The Crazy Horse Cabaret where I performed still has a visual impact on my work today. The creator of this ‘temple de la femme’ Alain Bernardin was a genius artist and his medium was the female body. By adding light, music and movement, he used his dancers to express his visions, which always celebrate women.
Today I run a dance school, the legacy of my mother, and dancing will always be part of my life, part of me, and therefore part of my art.
What are your (other) main inspirations in your work as a photographer? Can you tell a bit more about these?
I look up to other photographers like Lillian Bassman or Minor White; I am inspired by their work as well as their philosophy and their ethics.
I also get sparks of inspiration by flipping through alternative fashion/art magazine like UnderCurrent, Foam or The Gentlewoman as well as strolling through museums and galleries. Suddenly something grabs my attention and I take notes for a future piece.
I also get inspired by people with a cause like Jane Goodall dedicating her life spreading awareness about wildlife conservation and by peace activist artists like Eve Ensler (V-Day), Jeremy Gilley (Peace One Day), John Lennon & Yoko Ono.
What’s your favourite (West) London hangout?
The Electric club. You work there in the morning, you chill in the evening and you party at night, all with great food.
Love the French brasserie Goode and Wright, quality without being pretentious, and The Mexican restaurant Santo with its authentic margaritas and its chili hot warm atmosphere.
What have been your highlights at Debut Contemporary?
Definitely the Art dinner, what a lovely way to meet like-minded new people and talk about life and art. It is a wonderful and rare opportunity to spend an amazing evening around food and art and interact with very interesting people from various background.
Finally, do you have an interesting fact for us?
Check the 2012 Notting Hill Exhibition, 20 stores 12 artists in support of peace one day the 21st of September, we all need more Art and Peace in our life, don't we ?