European Photography 77
Berlin, Germany, Summer 2005

Enough is Too Much:
Rafaelo Kazakov's "Glut" series
by A. D. Coleman

If you can afford it, at the restaurant and bar Red Square in the
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, they will wrap you in purport
edly genuine Siberian wolfskins before letting you into their vodka cooler to
sip your favorite spirit while sitting around a block of ice in which―cut from
a 20-foot "faux" gypsum-and-plaster statue outside their front door―they
have imbedded Lenin's head. History has a freezer as well as a dustbin.
Who knows what will defrost if the power fails? Za vashe zdorovye!

Did we ever have a shortage of symbols? If so, that epoch passed long
ago. Nowadays, whatever the food- and water-supply situation in any
country or region from the first world to the third, we're all swamped with
symbols. They have become, in fact, objects of desire, consumables, and
we have not just a plenitude but an excess of them, a surfeit. A glut.

Because these symbols function as representations of our condition
yet also as protagonists therein, who could argue with Rafaelo Kazakov's
decision to make lush, sensuous Cibachrome depictions of them? These
images hover somewhere between the portrait and the still life: Kazakov
gives us a cross of raw meat, an Islamic crescent and star made with fruits
de mer, a jellied hammer and sickle, a Jewish star composed of frozen
French fries, a peace sign devised of sausages, and an iced coffeecake
shaped like a swastika.

Or at least that's what they look like. Photography's slipperiness and
capacity for deception match the fungibility of the symbols themselves―
meaning now one thing, now another, but always, inexorably, breeding.

© Copyright 2005 by A. D. Coleman. All rights reserved.
By permission of the author and Image/World Syndication
Services, P.O.B. 040078, Staten Island, New York 10304-0002
USA; T/F (718) 447-3091,

prev home next
go to:

This site is coded by Petar Kostov