Ludmila Belova

The Last Judgement

Digital photography, photo-paper printing, 2009–2017

In the modern world, we constantly doubt the authenticity of images and information, which follow people everywhere, from the TV news to the Internet. Banks, businesses and government structures increasingly resort to the last method to identify human beings — their biometrics.

With the advent of the digital era, the obligatory set of identification documents were supplemented by the traces of virtual presence: everyone will sooner or later be “counted” and provided with a personal ID. But if in the real world the passport is destroyed after death, nothing ever disappears from the digital one, as we know, and an avatar can live forever unless friends or relatives delete it.

“The Last Argument” examines the topic of the evidence which people could provide to authenticate their existence, when the last thing they have left is their biometrics, their DNA. 

Photographs of the faces of people who may be alive or dead, evoking associations with death, are actually taken at a perfectly pleasant and very human place — a beauty parlor. Images of beauty masks that combine elements of both the living and the lifeless are a unique illustration of a hybrid world, where an existence is possible in which the beauty of portraits will probably be judged by other aesthetic norms — if such norms exist at all.

Ludmila Belova (Russia)

Artist, curator. Born in 1960 on the Kamchatka Peninsula, USSR. Graduated from the Abramtsevo Art and Industry School (Moscow region, USSR). She works with video, sound, painting, photography. Works by Ludmila Belova have been exhibited in Europe, USA, Russia and Asia. Participant of the Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art (Russia, 2005, 2011), exhibitions parallel to Venice Biennale (biannually since 2011), Manifesta 10 parallel program (St. Petersburg, Russia, 2014). Curated the exhibition study project Silent Voices (Saint-Petersburg, 2017; Krasnoyarsk, 2018); recipient of the Sergey Kuryokhin Contemporary Art Award as “Best Curatorial Project” in 2018. Her works are held in the collections of Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Anna Akhmatova Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Erarta Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), The Kolodzei Art Foundation (New York, USA), in private collections in Switzerland, Germany and Russia. Lives and works in St. Petersburg, Russia.