Photographers Kila & Rusharc began their collaboration while studying at the University of Westminster, forming a bond over a shared set of ideals and a disparate set of skills which made them perfectly suited to working in tandem.
Together they make strange still-life photographs, composites of mystical origins that borrow heavily from the vernacular of the Surrealists – organic and man-made forms morph into otherworldly entities – but are absolutely modern in appearance. There’s alchemy at work in their images, both in terms of the materials used and their process; their backgrounds flicker, suggesting they’ve been projected, but otherwise their methodology is as mysterious as the final images. We’re hooked, so went to find out more about this extraordinary pair…
Where do you work?
We work out of the Limehouse Town Hall in east London as part of an artists’ collective. We have a little desk in the building but more importantly for our working practice we have access to the main hall, which is a fantastic space and essential to build our gigantic sets. We feel very lucky.
How does your working day start?
We’re both very different. Alessandra is from the south of Italy so she needs a strong injection of espresso to first connect with the world. Philip on the other hand is originally from a small farm in Cornwall. He’s used to being up with the cockerels and starts the day with a mug of tea, Mexican eggs and filling Alessandra’s head up with too many words. We normally synch by lunchtime and then by the end of the day it’s Alessandra’s turn to bombard Philip’s head with thoughts.
How do you work and how has that changed?
We always have a bonkers mix of ideas which we work on simultaneously, then almost by natural selection and evolution, some grow organically into something, whilst others fade and die. It’s difficult to define a particular process as we constantly bounce ideas back and forth. However, when we find the right one it’s like an explosion; all the tiny fragments of ideas finally connect and everything starts to make sense. Whether that’s an artefact at a museum, a video game, something strange we’ve found on the street or a conceptual idea we’ve been reading or thinking about – it’s the mix which makes the work ours.
Emotions are also really important in our work and we try and make sense of them in a personal way before translating them into universal themes. As we continue to spend more time together in our working partnership we joke that we’ve morphed into one person with two separate brains. It’s a reassuring feeling for both of us.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
We’re always out and about, from the flower market in Vauxhall to the Jamaican food stalls in Brixton, sourcing and scavenging everything from the obscure to the mundane. Alessandra also organises house gigs, clambers up mountains and looks after her ‘prehistoric’ garden. You can find Philip at Dale Rogers Ammonite looking up at huge Ice Age bear skeletons.
Would you intern for yourself?
Yes when we’re building our sets and playing with our science experiments, but we definitely wouldn’t like to be there in the aftermath of our shoots!