Boris Mikhailov 1965-2022

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MÖREL / MEP, 2023. Second edition of 1,500 copies.
Softcover, 576 pp. + booklet with 64 pp., b/w and color illustrated, 170 x 240 mm. Photographs by Boris Mikhailov. Text by Simon Baker, Laurie Hurwitz, Leigh Ledare. Design by Boris and Vita Mikhailov, Aron Morel, Laurie Hurwitz.

Considered one of the most influential contemporary artists from Eastern Europe, Boris Mikhailov (b. 1938 in Kharkiv, Ukraine) has been developing a body of experimental photographic work exploring social and political subjects for more than fifty years.

Mikhailov’s pioneering practice encompasses documentary photography, conceptual work, painting and performance. Since the 1960s, he has been creating a haunting record of the tumultuous changes in Ukraine that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disastrous consequences of its dissolution.

In an extraordinarily rich body of work that defies categorisation, Mikhailov unsettles visual codes. Inventing his own distinct artistic language in series that vary enormously in terms of technique, format and approach, he bears witness to the harsh social realities and absurdities of his time.

Combining humour and tragedy, Boris Mikhailov unceasingly defends artistic freedom as both a means of resistance. Through his uncompromising treatment of controversial subjects, he demonstrates the subversive power of art.

For more than half a century, he has been bearing witness to the grip of the Soviet system on his country, constructing a complex and powerful photographic narrative on Ukraine’s contemporary history that in light of current events, is all the more poignant and enlightening.

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Published on the occasion of Boris Mikhailov's major retrospective at the MEP, Paris, this book brings together 27 of Mikhailov's projects over the last 57 years. Working closely with Boris and Vita Mikhailov on the design and edit of the book Morel have included over 3000 words in quotes giving a unique insight into each project and Boris' methodology and philosophy.

A second booklet with essays contributed by Simon Baker (Director of MEP, Paris), Laurie Hurwitz (Curator of the exhibition), and artist Leigh Ledare (artists and friend of the Mikhailov's) complements the main book. Included in this are also translations for the series Viscidity and Unfinished Dissertation.


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