Salt Lake , Sots Art , Boris Mikhailov pigment printing, hand-colouring Courtesy of the Artist. Diary , Unfinished dissertation , Boris Mikhailov paper, pigment printing Courtesy of the Artist. Viscidity, Boris Mikhailov black and white print, partly sepia toned, coloured paper, all marked with coloured pencill exhibition copy Courtesy of the Artist and Guido Costa Gallery , Turin, Italy.
Red series , Boris Mikhailov coloured printing Courtesy of the Artist.
At Dusk , Temptation by the Death , Look at Me I Look at Water , Later in ? Boris Mikhailov offered a conceptual alternative to sophisticated techniques of other Vremya artists. Two large documentary series of chemically toned black-and-white images. At Dusk and By the Ground , a. The Blue and The Brown Series, used stains and other defects of color toning as a visual representation of deteriorating life standards of post-Soviet reality. We are planning to exhibit At Dusk and By the Ground in the second part of this project. It was an illegal commercial practice commissioned by people living in rural areas, often in remote parts of the country where color studio photography was either too expensive or simply non-existent.
The images in the series are harsh and sometimes even brutal: there seems to be no boundary between life and death, between heavy sleep and eternal oblivion. Degraded survivors of a demised imperial Union, the people represented in the photos immediately refer to the lower depths of society.
However, it is not psychologically that the shift is achieved, and it is not empathy that is strangely, if not perversely, set into motion. Rather, the very structure of seeing and being accounts for this shift. The ground is where communality resides.
Boris Mikhailov - Unfinished Dissertation
And the ground — the Earth — is his dwelling place which he shares with so many others to remember Heidegger. Taken from the waist, encouraging the viewers to stoop both literally and figuratively , these photographs are distinctly metaphysical. Rather, it is a dropping out of historical time rendered visible, a moment of suspension and transition.
It is the dismantling of society in favor of the forces of the social. And such forces are always already at work. What is it to be deprived of light? Is it the saturation of reality, so reminiscent of the Hegelian work of conception when philosophy or, rather, photography, better still — photography as philosophy, tries neither to amend nor to rejuvenate existing things, but instead is always late in its arrival?
However, blue is not a color. It is not a color in the sense that it renders no symbolic associations. It is simply the absence of light. But likewise it is the absence of the light of Reason which penetrates even the darkest resorts.
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- Unfinished Dissertation by Mikhailov Boris?
Here there is no light, and no light indeed is possible — only the imprint left by terrestrial beings, by the forces whose work remains invisible. Boris Mikhailov is a new metaphysician: he pushes photography to its very limit where what is seen becomes inseparable from the conditions of seeing — whether those are patterns of affectivity or contemporary communal experience as such.
Lost in time — this is the impression one gets from examining the two mentioned series.
Boris Mikhailov Biography – Boris Mikhailov on artnet
And yet it is within this span of time, the unfinished project of an ever open living, that events, however insignificant or imperceptible, occur. Such time transforms into space, indeed it stretches and expands , and by rising to the surface it keeps filling space with itself.
Truly, there is no other time except for this expanse of the present. And the present does not become part of memory, instead it seems to attach itself to the surface of things and the visible world as a whole. Mikhailov allows us to see what, for better or for worse, remains invisible: the energies of the private, inherently subversive, working their way through independently of an ideological setting even if they are not overtly directed against official prescriptions and norms.
It is clear that the forces of the private are on the side of the imperfect and the incomplete. For imperfection and incompleteness are a way of positing that what remains in the making, what avoids every determinate form.
I am referring of course to experience. To the kind of experience which can neither be accumulated nor truly represented. To the experience of time and of a common being in time. Finally, to an experience which time itself renders meaningful because its meaning is never fully given at the moment of its taking place. The meaning of such experience becomes complete when it is intercepted, so to say, by another experience — seemingly foreign to it, yet one which does not fail to recognize itself in the former.