The Goslarer Kaiserring 2015 goes to Boris Mikhailov

Words by Elena Scarpa
January 22, 2015

The Ukrainian photographer, a highly regarded artists on the contemporary photographic scene, is one of the most important chroniclers of Soviet and post-Soviet society.

In their citation, the Kaiserring jury described Boris Mikhailov as follow. “Born in Ukraine in 1938, his international reputation is based on his moving photographs of homeless people in his native city of Kharkiv. Trained as an engineer, Boris Mikhailov began in the 1960s to engage in photography as a hobby, trying out its technical potential and experimenting in a variety of ways with the pictorial material, out of which he created new and unusual forms of depiction. He used techniques such as superimposition, post-colouring, defamiliarization, humorously critical combinations of text and picture deriving from his own and found material to record, and comment on, everyday life and repression in the then Soviet Union. Superficially he employed an aesthetic that was loyal to the regime, but at the same time it was ironically subverted.”

Boris Mikhailov lives and works in Kharkiv and Berlin. Mikhailov has been awarded numerous international photography prizes. He has had solo exhibitions at major art institutions in Europe and in the United States. His works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Stedeljik Museum, Amsterdam; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Foto Museum Winterthur; Kunstmuseum Basel; Berlinische Galerie, Berlin; Sprengel Museum, Hanover; Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Albertina Museum, Vienna.

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