In this hefty photobook, published in an edition of 500 copies, the celebrated Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov (born 1938) mixes earlier pictures with photographs from 2017 that were taken in a Soviet-era crematorium in Kyiv. Other settings featured here include the crumbling corners of East and West European cities, private bedrooms and public hospitals, gardens and bars.
Across more than 200 photographic diptychs, Mikhailov draws connections between histories and technologies, while playfully stressing formal correlations between motifs. Where earlier artist's books by Mikhailov, such as Case History and Unfinished Dissertation, explored life on Ukrainian streets or under Soviet rule, now, with Temptation of Life, he offers a more philosophical account of the everyday, of the perishability of all flesh, on sex, life and death.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Text by Boris Mikhailov.
Photographer Boris Mikhailov (born 1938) dedicates his new volume Diary to the “Blaue Horse” group, a group of young people, many from his Ukrainian hometown of Kharkov, who were persecuted and jailed by Soviet authorities at the end of the 1950s for “pornography,” a catchall accusation that could accommodate crimes like loving the Beatles and dancing to rock and roll. Mikhailov introduces this collection of his Soviet-era photographs by explaining that he took up photography in the shadow of that moment of repression, aware that almost all of his subjects and images would run foul of the party line. In this new artist’s book, Mikhailov’s photographs—showing daily life in the Soviet Union, in color and black and white, in the unblinking style for which the artist is known—are presented without further comment, arranged in an intimate scrapbook style.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited by Inka Schube. Text by Oksana Bulgakowa, Boris Groys, Helen Petrovsky, Inka Schube, Bernd Stiegler, Tobias Wilke.
Ukrainian documentary photographer Boris Mikhailov (born 1938) is internationally admired for his intense, clear-eyed depictions of his homeland, the Ukraine--most famously, his portrayals of the everyday struggles of the bomzhes, the homeless, a class that dramatically enlarged after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Using this raw and emotive material, Mikhailov touches on themes ranging from the living conditions in post-communist Eastern Europe and the fallen ideals of the Soviet Union to the harsher trials of human existence. Although deeply rooted in a specific historical context, his work also narrates more accessible, personal threads of humor, lust, vulnerability, aging and death. This publication presents, in facsimile, Mikhailov’s well-known artist’s books Krymskaja Fotomanija (Crimean Photomania) and Mountains, each of which is 128 pages and which are here supplemented by 80 pages of informative, illustrated text.
For the acclaimed photographer Boris Mikhailov (born 1938), a society's most significant paradigm shifts are often most clearly perceived in the smallest of everyday transactions. For example, in a café or restaurant in the Soviet-era Ukraine, a waiter would have offered you "tea or coffee?" Today, two decades after the fall of the Soviet bloc and the ascent of western capitalism, it's "tea, coffee, cappuccino?" In his latest body of work, Mikhailov addresses this shift by focusing on his hometown of Charkow, in the north east of the Ukraine. Here, the consumerist invasion of western capitalism is everywhere apparent in huge, colorful advertising banners and billboards, but the promises of the so-called Orange Revolution seem to have been fulfilled for only a few. Mikhailov writes that "only when one sees misery in a picture, does one begin to notice it in the street," and throughout the 200-plus photographs in this volume, he takes pains to neither dramatize nor ameliorate the conditions of life in Charkow; and so his tough-minded pictures present a bleak but rigorously honest portrait of the Ukraine and its inhabitants.
In the early 1980s, before Glasnost and Perestroika, Boris Mikhailov made this series of photographs in his home town of Charkow, in the Ukraine. Mikhailov is best known for his ruthlessly honest documentation of the problems of Soviet and Russian daily life; this work, which has never been published before, is sometimes gentler.