Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, 14.06. – Sunday, 24.08.2003

Boris Mikhailov. Private Pleasures, the Burdens of Boredom, Public Decay - A Retrospective

Boris Mikhailov, who was recently honored by the awards of the Coutts Contemporary Art Award, the Hasselblad Award and the Citybank Photography Prize, was born in Kharkov in the Ukraine in 1938. His work is devoted on the one hand to everyday life in the social-historical conditions of the Soviet Union, on the other to the radical changes after 1989 and the collapse of the system in the Ukraine after the demise of the Soviet Union.

The first section of his work is devoted to the “city without central street”, with the anti-heroic, trivial, private and leisure aspects of Soviet life. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Boris Mikhailov has been concerned with creating a documentation on the wretchedness of homeless persons in the Ukraine and a shattering monument to the forgotten losers of the change of system in his Case History. Social-critical aspects in his photographs, provocative performances, self-presentations, hand-colorations and word-image combinations reveal Boris Mikhailov as a conceptual documentarist whose moving picture of the damaged human spirit is endowed with both seriousness and humor.

The exhibition was curated by Urs Stahel. A cooperation with La Virreina Exposiciones, Institut de Cultura de Barcelona, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and FOAM Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam.