Boris Mikhailov

B.Mikhailov photo by Araki ridotta

Boris Mikhailov  (Kharkiv, Ucraina, 1938) graduated as an engineer and started working at the factory in Kharkov, his native town. He had already started taking photographs back then, documenting daily life though claiming to be an amateur photographer. After the KGB has discovered the photos of his naked wife he was accused of pornography and was fired. Working hard to provide for the family, he dedicated all his free time to photography. He has been creating a portrait of the Soviet society, since the mid 1960s, producing an uncompromising yet ironically humorous portrait of his close surroundings. With the demise of the Soviet Union his attention was drawn to the stories of human casualties in post-communist Eastern Europe with the series Case history outstanding and noted as the most remarkable examples of contemporary art equally charged with social and aesthetic issues.
He created a body of work, which represents the bitter reality of the Soviet times and depicts its consequences. His images are sometimes provocative, sad and ironic at the same time. His tireless investigations into photographic techniques and stylistic means, as well as frequent alternation between conceptual and documentary work have contributed to make Mikhailov one of the most influential photographers living today.
His recent solo exhibitions include Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2013), Berlinische Galerie (2012) Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011) and Kunsthalle, Wien (2010). A selection of his works was featured in ‘Photography: New Documentary Forms’ at Tate Modern, London (2012). In January 2011 Mikhailov participated to ‘Monanism’, the opening exhibition of the private foundation Mona, Tasmania, Australia. Mikhailov is the recipient of the 2012 Spectrum International Prize for photography, the Citibank 2001 Photography Prize, the 2000 Hasselblad Foundation International Award and the 1999 Krazna-Krausz Photography Book Award for ‘Case History’. Mikhailov participated in the Venice Biennial collateral projects in 2011 and represented Ukraine at the 2007 Venice Biennial.

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