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Anastasia Samoylova’s second presentation at Galerie Caroline O’Breen is ‘Coming Waters’. Made in South Florida, this suite of elegant yet unsettling photographs hints at the fragility of a place experiencing the very real but strange effects of climate change. Historically this region was swampland and mangroves. A century of intensive urban development turned it into a tourist paradise. But now nature is slowly reclaiming it. The sea level is rising. The limited fresh water is becoming salty. Storms of greater intensity inflict their damage. It is a time of transition that is perhaps irreversible, yet life goes on with its mix of denial, resignation, realism, and fantasy.

Samoylova’s photographs are dreamlike yet clear-headed observations, alert to the everyday signs and symptoms of these changing conditions of place and mind. Fresh green leaves shredded by a hurricane settle on the shimmering blue of a swimming pool. A glossy wave oozes over the ornate marble deck of a crumbling historic building. A spilling high tide turns the staircase of a Miami-pink building into a surreal scene worthy of de Chirico. These are not images of disaster or catastrophe, they are open doors to the complex feelings we have about what is happening and what is yet to come.

The title of the show comes from the essay by David Campany published in The New Yorker magazine and in Samoylova’s book FloodZone (Steidl,  2019).