Boris Mikhailov (photographer)

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Boris Mikhailov
Boris Mikhailov.jpg
Born (1938-08-25) August 25, 1938 (age 77)
Known for Photography

Boris Andreyevich Mikhailov (Бори́с Андрі́йович Миха́йлов, born August 25, 1938) is a fine art photographer who has been described as one of the most important artists to have emerged from the former USSR.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Born in the former Soviet Union, he lived and worked for several decades in his hometown Kharkiv, Ukraine. He received an education as an engineer and started to teach himself the practice of photography. Today he is one of the most successful and well-known photographers, who already was actively working in soviet times. His work very much is influenced in the means of Concept-Art and social documentary photography. At the end of the 1960s he had his first exhibition. After the KGB found nude pictures of his wife he was set off his job as an engineer and started to full-time work with photography. He shot a series of everyday-life scenes-documentation. His most famous work during this period (1968–1975) was the "Red Series". In these photographs he mainly used the colour red, to picture people, groups and city-life. Red is the color standing for October Revolution, political party and the social system of soviet society. It is often said,[by whom?] that within those works critical elements toward the existing political circumstances can be found.

In his work Klebrigkeit (1982) he added explaining notes, or he is using diary-like writings. As an important part of contemporary art are considered his works "Case History". Here he examines the consequences of the breakdown of the Soviet Union for the people living there. Therefore he systematically took pictures of homeless people, who soon started trusting him. More than 500 photographs show the situation of people, who after the breakdown of the Soviet Union were not able to catch hold in a secured social system. In a very direct way Mikhailov points out his critique against the "mask of beauty" of the uprising post-soviet capitalistic way of life.

In 2004 Boris Mikhailov exhibited a first series of Berlin. Again his attention is drawn to people living at the edge of society.

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2006: Bereznitsky Gallery, Berlin, Moments/Monuments
  • 2006: Shugoarts, Tokyo, Yesterday's Sandwich
  • 2005: Galerie Ilka Bree, Bordeaux, Butterbrot
  • 2005: Centre de la Photographie, Geneve, Look at me I look at Water
  • 2004: Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona
  • 2004: Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, In the Street
  • 2004: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston MA
  • 2003: Fotomuseum Winterthur, Private Freuden, lastende Langweile, öffentlicher Zerfall - eine Retrospective
  • 2002: Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, The Insulted and the Injured
  • 2001: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Case History & Heiner Müller Project
  • 2001: Saatchi Gallery, London

Selected collective exhibitions[edit]


  • 1995: Boris Michaijlov, Stuttgart
  • 1998: Unfinished Dissertation, Zürich
  • 2000: Michajlov: The Hasselblad Award 2000
  • 2003: Eine Retrospktive, Zürich
  • 2004: Look at me I look at water, Göttingen


  • 1997: Albert Renger-Patzsch Buchpreis
  • 1996: Award of Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation, Switzerland
  • 2000: Auszeichnung der Hasselblad-Stiftung, Sweden
  • 2001: Citibank Fotografie-Preis
  • 2001: Foto-Buchpreis der Krazna-Krausz-Stiftung, London (Kraszna-Krausz Book Award)
  • 2011: The Wedding, Mörel Books
  • 2013: premio novel a la paz mundial


  1. ^ Christine Toomey, "The barefaced cheek of Boris Mikhailov", The Sunday Times, June 3, 2007.
  2. ^ "Revolution vs Revolution". Beirut Art Center. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 

External links[edit]