Boris Mikhailov – revisited

17th March 2020

It was interesting to see you like Mikhailov’s work. It might be worth you expanding on why within a post with specific images and how you interpret them.

Feedback from Assignment three, Tutor David Wyatt
Boris Mikhailov
image from pg2, Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited

Mikhailov’s work is one of a few that stimulates the most adventurous being in me. He stepped away from safe and shows imagination and daring in some of the work he produced and I particularly like the way that Mikhailov’s work covers many genres of photography. In fact his social documentation work, for me, shows genius and daring, strength and intellect.

Although his social documentation is fascinating in an historical way, it is his more creative works that I really like and would like incorporate into some of my images.

Historical background

At the time Mikhailov became interested in photography, Western countries photography was not censored but Russian images were. Images such as Mikhailov’s first photograph around 1965, showed a feminine western-looking women smoking and was not welcome in a Soviet authoritarian government run society, as it did not fall within a safe and accepted genre such as landscapes and portraits and scenes of happy children.

This however did not stop Mikhailov and soon after producing the photograph mentioned above, he took a series of nude photographs of his wife which were seized by the KGB and resulted in him loosing his job at the factory in which he worked.

He had broken rule 3. of the Soviet regime connected with the practice of photography. These rules were:

1. It is forbidden to take photographs from higher than the second floor, the areas of railways, stations, military objects, at enterprises, near enterprises, at any organisation, without special permission.

2. It is forbidden to take phots that bring into disrepute Soviet power and the Soviet way of life.

3. It is forbidden to depicting naked body. Only museums can display such pictures, in (non-photographic) Old Master paintings.

pgs 7-8, Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited

Social Documentary

Social deprivation and the works of the ‘Case History’ series 1997-8 (a set of 413 photographs)

When looking at, critiquing and appreciating (or not) Mikhailov’s work it is important that as viewers of his images we understand the historical context of the time and the place in which the photographs were taken. It is also important to appreciate how very daring he was in some of his work to show truth about the social deprivation that engulfed the people of the Soviet Union.

This series of photos is a cycle called “Case History”, that I might equally call the “clinical file of a disease”. It took shape round 1997-1998. A big city, such as Harkov, offered me a great deal of raw material. And I did not miss it, I did not ignore it.

Boris Mikhailov, Saatchi Gallery saatchigallery.com

Mikhailov’r photographs show the Ukraine low social class who were poor, vulnerable, and had no political voice, had reduced opportunities and reduced freedom. They were the homeless.

“BOMJI”. It is a term made of capital letters, recently coined. It literally refers to those people without a stable residence, practically living in the streets, wherever they can stretch their bones.”

Boris Mikhailov, Saatchi Gallery saatchigallery.com

The first exhibition to show the work ‘Case History’ series 1997-98 was in The Museum of modern Art, America, 2011. Below is an excellent introduction in these important works and is taken from the MoMA website, moma.org.

Case History also explores the complicated relationship between photographer and subject. The photographs are collaborations, sometimes the result of a spontaneous moment, other times directed by the artist. Central to the exhibition is the multi-part work the artist calls ―requiem.

The mannered posing of the people in his pictures exposes the constructed nature of the photographs, challenging the idea of objective truth and authenticity implied by documentary photography. For Mikhailov, photographic seeing is an accountable act, and viewers participate in this act. With these pictures, Mikhailov implicates himself—and the viewers—in the act of looking.

This exhibition is the first in-depth presentation of Mikhailov’s seminal Case History series (1997–98) in an American museum. This body of work explores the deeply troubling circumstances of people who have been left homeless by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Set against the bleak backdrop of the industrial city of Kharkov, Mikhailov’s life-size color photographs document the oppression, devastating poverty, and everyday reality of a disenfranchised community living on the margins of Russia’s new economic regime. Mikhailov recalls of his experience returning to Kharkov some years after the collapse of communism, “Devastation had stopped. The city had acquired an almost modern European centre. Much had been restored. Life became more beautiful and active, outwardly (with a lot of foreign advertisements)—simply a shiny wrapper. But I was shocked by the big number of homeless (before they had not been there). The rich and the homeless—the new classes of a new society—this was, as we had been taught, one of the features of capitalism.” One of the most haunting documents of post-Soviet urban conditions, Mikhailov’s pictures capture this new reality with poetry, clarity, and grit.

Museum of Modern Art moma.org

Below, installation views of the exhibition Boris Mikhailov: Case History at MoMa. Photographs taken by Jonathan Muzikar, 2011.

image taken from the MoMA website moma.org

The selection of photographs below are taken from the Case History series and are from The Saatchi Gallery website saatchi.com There are more examples on this webpage.

Mikhailov, Case History 1997-98

I suddenly felt that many people were going to die at that place. And the bomzhes had to die in the first rank, like heroes – as if their lives protected the others’ lives.

Boris Mikhailov, Saatchi Gallery saatchigallery.com

These particular images first portray the working class of the Cold War era and then the poverty-stricken public, proving that both Perestroika and Glasnost left the people of the Ukraine with much less than they promised.

First, these were the people who had recently lost their homes. According to their position they were already the bomzhes (“bomzh” = the homeless without any social support), according to outlook they were simply the people who got into trouble.

Now they are becoming the bomzhes with their own class psychology and “clan” features. For me it was very important that I took their photos when they were still like “normal” people. I made a book about the people who got into trouble but didn’t manage to harden so far.

Boris Mikhailov, Saatchi Gallery saatchigallery.com

So why do I like these photographs and how do I respond to them?

The images are social documentation of a time when so much was hidden from the outside world and indeed for the inner Soviet world. Mikhailov not only documented that which he had seen around him but he made many of the images more conceptual by staging them.

He added elements such as people showing their naked bodies or lying on the floor beneath them.

At first the naked images shocked me as they are already vulnerable people who had been exploited and left to rot by their government. I couldn’t believe that Mikhailov had paid them money, the amount equivalent to a pension. Who would turn that down? Is this using desperation and manipulating it for good images?

No, Mikhailov by shocking me had already began to work the thinking process within my head, their living horror is mirrored in my reaction to the images of them. He had forced me to focus on his subject and had impacted my understanding of the harshness and the vulnerability of these people. He de-humanises them and makes me feel ashamed and appalled, my compassion is guilt ridden, do I become their abuser as well, merely by looking at them? Or has his conceptual exploitation brought home the reality of what these people are subjected to? Is it a mixture of the two?

Mikhailov says,

I took the pictures displaying naked people with their things in hands like people going to gas chambers.”

Boris Mikhailov, Saatchi Gallery saatchigallery.com

So there is a reason for Mikhailov to do this, it was to show the vulnerability of the homeless and how even their basic rights of decency as human beings had been stripped away. Their nakedness showed their neglect and their deformities. But paying for them to pose in such a way means that he was participating in the new capitalist system and manipulating people with money.

19th March 2020

Temptation of Death, 154 Diptychs

image taken from biennaleimmagine.ch

I absolutely love this idea. it is so similar to a lesson I would teach in a Reception class for 4-5 years olds where they would sort through images of old and new objects and pair them together. Although my Reception class’s planning objective was only to compare the old and new, Mikhailov’s diptychs go further in their concepts.

These photographs were taken in an abandoned crematorium in Kyiv, Ukraine. Construction had started in 1969 but was abandoned 13 years later. Revisiting the crematorium and taking new photographs, Mikhailov was able to produce 154 diptychs, a creative process which he said he has never completed before. For him the diptychs represent the politics of his country, the capitalist present and the communist past and it was a way of combining both of these elements into one picture.

Within his paired images both the old and new were photographed by him. He compares the then, now, old and new, the industrial decay, death, life and the spiritual all of which is reliant on man. Then there are the natural occurrences’ like the over grown plants, irregular natural shapes and textured surfaces.

For me this series of work is also very interesting in how it has been presented. These images could have easily been separated and hung together or separated and hung in two independent sets, none for images of the then and one for the images of the now.

I also like how large these had been shown.

15th May 2020

Mikhailov the creative photographer

There are many creative processes that Mikhailov uses that I have enjoyed looking at and have learnt from. The work also stimulates my own imagination in how I can move my practices on creatively. To discuss the different creative genres I have chosen a few images to illustrate visually and if possible find the series title.

Superimposition or Yesterday’s Sandwich series 1960-1970

The ‘Superimposition’ series or ‘Yesterdays Sandwich’ as it is also known is Mikhailov’s first series. These works began in the form of a slideshow in the late 1960s to early 1970s and were printed at the end of the 1980s.

These images were produced by overlaying colour slides on one another which means they were all hand manipulated. At first the images were created by chance, ‘… My approach was based on the deliberate pursuit of chance, but to complete these random assemblages I later added some planned shots of details.’ From the forward of Boris Mikhailov (2006), Yesterday’s Sandwich, London, Phaidon Press.

I found it interesting when comparing Mikhailov to Spence and Dennet’s working concept in their work ‘Remodelling photo History’ (as discussed in my blog post, ‘Jo Spence.’) Mikhailov’s ‘Superimposition’ was seen by the hostile critics as an offence to the very idea of photography because he was presenting more than one photograph (a picture of truth) in combination with another and therefore producing a fictional image. Spence and Dennet also wanted to turn photography genres on their head by staging images and re-modelling the genres connected with women and work. All three photographers were therefore pushing the historical and contemporary excepted boundaries of ‘the rules’ within photography.

I have managed to find a YouTube video that shows some of the work in an exhibition. The work moves me so much that I am lost for words. How he places the differing subject matters together to represent a concept is just truly inspirational. The symbolism is powerful and in many cases where nudes were included they were seen as pornographic.

ARTtv Boris Mikhailov, Yesterday’s Sandwich, Galeri Artist
uploaded by ARTtvComTr on Feb 2018

For me it is also some of the juxtapositions of images that are seen together which evoke a sense of daring and make me gasp with their contradictory beauty. I believe this is because they give a very ‘Surreal’ feeling to the viewer because we are presented with images of reality which include scenes of Soviet life, erotic female nudes which are all set within a specifically chosen landscape. Mikhailov has there invented another world for us to visually explore and to mentally think about.

Untitled, Kharkov, Ukraine. 1966-1968
image from Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited

Here, a female nude (forbidden subject matter in the Soviet Union) reclines on a carpet perhaps a magical vehicle on which to fly away? Her flesh is overlapped with text contrasting ‘low’, potentially pornographic imagery with ‘high’ literary tradition.

Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited

Unfortunately I cannot find a translation for the text on the above image so making my own conclusion on the message/ concept is quite difficult. I will write a list of things that I have personally decoded, whether correct or not this is how I read the image.

  • Text like a postcard but on the front. However some of my Edwardian and Victorian postcards that I have collected have handwritten messages on the front as well.
  • If I stay with the postcard idea then the image could represent a holiday or as the book described a magic carpet which is going/ has been on a journey.
  • Naked body juxtaposed with carpet – Contemporary ‘v’ Traditional imagery
  • The carpet could have been a hand-knotted carpet produced in Russia or Caucasus both of which have centuries-long tradition in carpet production. naintrading.co.uk Therefore again this represents Traditional ‘v’ Contemporary.
  • The nude in the landscape for me reminds me of the daring ‘Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe’ painted by Édouard Manet in 1862-1863. Which incidentally was the first painting that I learnt about in art college that was a ‘shock’ painting in historic terms. So is Mikhailov providing us with a Russian contemporary image in slide format form that would mirror the shock of Manet’s nude landscape?
  • For me there is a iso an art nouveau feeling with this work, the naked body laying outstretched posed on the patterned rich red carpet within a landscape.

What ever the meaning behind this image I am hoping to be able to find it through further research which to date has proven fruitless.

Untitled 1966-1968
image from e-flux e-flux.com

As you can see from a few of the works above from the series Superimposition the style of placing slides together to form an image has a very similar outcome to using layers within Photoshop. In fact I wished I had finished this research before I had completed Exercise 4.4 Layers because Mikhailov has steered my thoughts of emerging images into something completely different to how I approached the exercise. However for future personal work this series has inspired me to new directions in composition and combination of images.

24th May 2020

Boris Mikhailov (2006), Yesterday’s Sandwich
London, Phaidon Press

I couldn’t resist, I have bought myself a copy of the book Yesterday’s Sandwich, the front cover is above. I am so glad that I have, it shows some of the images in the series which are numbered in the book as Plate No. 1 all the way through to Plate No.55. I am so over whelmed by the images that I cannot even choose a couple of the images to discuss.

If you compare Mikhailov’s Yesterday’s Sandwich images with modern images that use software to layer images on one another, rather than ‘sandwiching’ slides together, we can note there is a difference, not just a visual one but an emotional one and intellectual one.

For this work piece Mikhailov presents it as, ‘the experimental method of an amateur who wants to develop and print all his films at night in the toilet… It is the continuation of the style of Soviet society, inadequate and unquestioned,’ Boris Mikhailov, (Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited).

Many images today when completed are crisp and bright, perfect presented images, however Mikhailov’s are raw and have a concept that grabs the attention and holds it. Todays images I look at them, I respond and there is no thinking on my behalf because the images are like ornaments to me, with one function and that is too grab my attention and from there it is a simple of a response along the lines of, ‘That’s interesting,’ That’s clever,’ and then I move onto the next. There are obviously some artists and photographers that have concepts within their work but it is difficult to find the images as there is an influx of such work on the internet due to the ease of using software apps that anyone can master.

Many mobile phones have their own brand software for easy production of multiple layered images. Examples of some apps that are available and their outcomes are below.

Mikhailov says, ‘These days, I see the ‘Sandwich’ series as a work that celebrates beauty or its absence. I started with pictures of an idyllic beauty but subsequently created images that lapse into kitsch, or evoke the tedium and the ugliness of life.’ From the forward of Boris Mikhailov (2006), Yesterday’s Sandwich, London, Phaidon Press.

With this quote in mind, I wonder how he would compare his work to the images widely produced now, by anyone and everyone? I still believe that because of the history and the political background of his individual images, coupled with his creativeness and conceptual approach to photography, that unless ‘image’ makers of the modern times are trying to speak to their audience then they are producing mere images for decoration and for congratulating slaps on the back for great juxtapositions of images. In other words, with no soul or meaning.

The Luriki series

Luriki is a term invented by Mikhaylov. It is derived from ‘zhmuriki’ which means ‘those who wink or blink’ – the name by which musicians playing at funerals referred to the dead. ‘Luriki’ are colored black and white photographs from anonymous family albums, most of them with a cloying touch of nostalgia. “I find that coloring photographs and using family albums gives me a chance to say more about the Soviet Union and its inhabitants than it has been said in all photographs before. (Boris Mikhailov, 1993) In the 1970s, Boris Mikhaylov earned his living as a commercial photographer, retouching and coloring photos according to his clients’ wishes. The manipulation of the photograph addresses a central question in photography with regard to the representation and construction of reality. The private photographs used by Mikhaylov as the basis for his intervention project a personal image shaped both by individual ideas and infiltrated by social stereotypes.

B. Kölle, Boris Michajlov, Stüttgart, 1995, p. 55

I like these images because yet again they remind me of some of the early postcards that I collected which have been hand coloured, especially my African colonies postcards many of which were taken during ‘The Scramble for Africa’, 1881-1914 and my Edwardian and Victorian Lowestoft seaside postcards. Examples of both can be seen below.

16th May 2020

I find that colouring photographs and using family albums gives me a chance to say more about the Soviet Union and its inhabitants than has been said in all (my) photographs before,’ the artist once said.

Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited

The following examples of Mikhailov’s Luriki contain two of my favourite as well as a couple of examples from a Google search. The two that I particularly like are from the book – Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited. I have been unable to find all of the series and there is not a book at the moment that I have been able to find which contains the complete series within it.

I have chosen these two images to comment on further.

The image on the left is chosen because Mikhailov has crossed the eyes out on six of the portraits. Why? I cannot find any explanation anywhere. I actually cross out my eyes on my self portraits and eyes of my ex abuser. The self portrait cross outs symbolise various things, for example: in hiding – ‘I am not here!’, the observers/ viewers cannot see me, no contact with the outside world beyond the image, I am not worthy of being acknowledged and “Do not look at me!’ The ex abuser symbolism is different. By destroying his eyes I am destroying his ability to see me and the viewers, he becomes powerless to manipulate and control that which he sees. His identity also becomes less than it is because he is not whole, it demeans him to a sub species of the human race, one which hurts others for their own gain.

In looking at Mikhailov’s altered image and taking it as a found photograph from an album rather than one he has taken himself I can form a list of ideas of why he has crossed the eyes out of some of his subjects and other details about the image.

  • The family portrait consists of five children, granddad and nanny, dad and I would surmise that the person taking the photograph is mum.
  • It is a posed family portrait as the children are sitting on stools.
  • Granddad is leaning in towards the children and has his arm and hand around the nearest grandchild – protection or predator? 2
  • Not many smily faces, nan is frowning and dad has a partial smile as if to say ‘OK then if I have to’, his arms are crossed as a barrier as if to back up the theory that he doesn’t actually want his photograph to be taken.
  • Portrait is taken in either a large garden or an allotment.
  • Hand coloured image to make the over all feel more realistic and positive. The photograph has real meaning so it is treasured and coloured accordingly.
  • We have a family relationship in the image but having the eyes crossed out alters the dynamics of the people and their relationship to each other: Six crossed out subjects, two subjects with eyes, and the anonymity of the photographer who cannot be seen as they are beyond the picture plane.
  • The identity of the six has been masked out, various red lines for the different subjects and the three in the front row have also been linked together with an extra line running through them.
  • Why mask out the identity of these six? Protection? If so from what?
  • The lines draw our attention into the portrait and we first look at these subjects and the red lines, then up to the two subjects with their eyes and then back to the six. We then begin to ask questions such as, Why have they got their eyes crossed out? Why haven’t the other two got their eyes crossed out?
  • It causes uncertainty in the viewer.
  • Eyes look and they see. Crossing these eyes out means they cannot see the viewers staring at them.
  • Eyes are supposed to express what words cannot as we can communicate certain looks for example, sadness, happiness, anger, fear, concern and worry. Is the person who draw the red lines over the eyes trying to hide something that the essence of these subjects is showing?
  • No eye contact then there is no connection and therefore contact with the viewer on a personal level.
  • The two have continuous eye contact with the viewer until the viewer looks away and disengages from the image. This can be seen as defiance, longing, intimidation etc…
  • Have the eyes been lined over so that the viewer stays engaged longer with the image and we are challenged to ask questions and to discover identities and relationships.
  • The six become less human and more like objects.
  • The six are deprived of sight and they become subject to others. Protecting the subjects from seeing something, from knowing something?
  • Have the six done something to warrant their eyes being crossed out?
  • Are they being protected from seeing something? Is this family related? Something that is happening in their immediate environment?
  • Have they died and the eyes are crossed out to symbolise that they see no more?

Not knowing the background to this image is quite annoying to me, I like to know why artists and photographers do something. But putting down my thoughts in a list actually makes me think more about the image so in a way I probably thought about this far more than I would have if I had known why the eyes were crossed out. If anyone does know or has a link to an explanation around this photograph please could you write a comment below, thank you.

The second photograph on the rights been hand painted and then folded.

… Mikhailov creates a humorous yet violently distorted portrait of an anonymous Soviet citizen. In these manipulated black-and-white photographs, the artist refers in a subtle way to the notorious Soviet tradition of constructing and reconstructing reality through ‘customised’ photography. At the same time he echoes, in specifically Soviet terms, the work of numerous Westerners – from Marcel Duchamp’s readymades to Andy Warhol’s painted Marilyn’s to Roland Barthes’ concept of ‘the death of the author’ while pre-empting the found-photograph strategies of Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince and others in the 1980s. Mikhailov considers these breakthrough works to be his first conceptual photographic series.

Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited

The few that I have included within this post have shown how he coloured the found family portraits but would also add to them, for example the lines on the eyes as well as fold the images. He therefore always tried to take his work in different directions even within a series.

24th May 2020

The Sots Art series, 1975-86

Following on from the Luriki series in the period 1975-86, Mikhailov returned to colouring photographs but this time they photographs that he had taken. This series is called ‘Sots Art’ and the subject matter becomes political and ideological.

I like these because they become political art opposed to political photographs, it just steps a little beyond the norm for me to make them interesting. Two of my favourite ones are below:

Most of Mikhailov’s Sots Art series were hand coloured carefully and with life like colours as in one of his most famous pictures which is the image on the right. However there are a few such photographs like the one on the left which were creatively coloured. It is the creative images that I love. This image has a stain glass or graphic poster feel because of the blocks of colour and dark lines and figures. The book states,

The unnatural colouring underscores the artificially of the scenes in which absurdly enthusiastic tennis players celebrate the joys of Soviet sport. Mikhailov manages to draw these pictures into the acceptable imagery of main stream Soviet mythology while also attacking it and pointing out the inanities of Socialist Realist photography and painting.

images from Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited
Lenin, From the Sots Art series, 1975-86
image from MutualArt mutualart.com

I find this piece of work interesting because of how Mikhailov has presented two images together and has coloured the border which makes the viewer read the separate images as one piece. It is quite similar to the ‘spot the difference’ games in magazines and children’s puzzle books where the viewers compare the images and work out why they differ. In this instance the compositions are different, the colours and their placements differ and our eyes are particularly drawn to the negative space in the bottom image. This negative space makes the viewer look closer, by doing this we can work out that the gentleman wearing the hat has bowed to the image of Lenin on the wall but leaves us wondering what type of gathering this is.

Unfinished Dissertation, 1985

One of my absolutely favourite topics is text and fonts. I love poster designs and bold graphics and even more so I absolutely love text either within an image or used beside an image.

Mikhailov’s ‘Unfinished Dissertation, 1985’, has more than enough use of text to spark off many more interesting ideas in me.

This piece of work consists of 880 sheets of cheap drawing paper which has an unfinished dissertation hand written on it that Mikhailov found in the early 1980s. He uses the found work and constructs it into an artists book by glueing either one or two photographs onto each page. The dissertation is unfinished and the paper often torn in places which, for me, symbolises how fragile the academic institutions and learning is within the Soviet Union.

The images are surrounded by text, and…

Mikhailov redeems the anonymous efforts of this failed dissertation candidate by saving the essay from the rubbish heap and transforming it into a work of art.

Gilda Williams (2001), Boris Mikhailov. Hong Kong: Phaidon Press Limited

The several hundred photographs were all taken in 1984 and are placed within the dissertation with text around them. The placement of the photographs are casual as is the text which makes the artists book look like a work in progress, as though the notes are the free recollections of the mind, raw and and shouldn’t be looked upon yet.

The text includes autobiographical writings, remarks on his work, quotations from Soviet literature on art, science and philosophy.

04th May 2020

I have been waiting for a book to be delivered, quite a wait actually, which is why this post has been drastically delayed being published.

The book is ‘Boris Mikhailov, Unfinished Dissertation’ which is the artists personal view on the life around him in Kharkov in its full glory. There are 210 pages of work and each image, each page is so different from the next and is like a complete history of the time in his life, it is very comprehensive and it becomes as though you lived his life with him.

What I do like about this book is the unusual dimensions and the paper that has been used which is like a heavy browning cartridge paper which adds a real artist feel to it. As though the book is a piece of art in its own right.

It has also been organised well in that one page shows the images with the hand written text and the opposite page has typed translations which actually appear in the same positions, meaning if the notes are running up the page then the typed notes are too. Examples can be seen below.

Editor: Alexis Schwarzenbach (1998). Boris Mikhailov Unfinished Dissertation, London, Thames and Hudson

Structures of Madness 2011-2012

‘Structures of Madness’ or ‘Why shepherds living in the mountains often go crazy,’ combines photographs with drawings. In this series Mikhailov looks for faces, human forms and other natural subjects in mountain rocks and sketches them. Sketches such as faces, skulls, vulva, penis and erotic scenes are depicted along with other nature forms such as animals.

The series is presented in the book ‘Bücher Books’ with another artist book called ‘Photomania in Crimea,’ I have a copy of the book and it is quite a detailed read as it includes six essays which separate the two series within the book.

The photographs are in colour and are paired with the sketches which are drawn in pen and crayon, sometimes a mixture of the two. I really like this series because it contains both of the mediums I work predominantly with, which are photography and drawing. Again, for me personally, there is a strength in the way that the work has been presented to the viewer.

The series is placed and photographed, loose. It is not constrained by frames and borders and there is a satisfaction in a way that the rough, scribbled sketches and photographs are shown as if the artist is flicking through his portfolio and showing an audience his achievements.

Whether or not these works have been framed at a later date for show in an exhibition, I do not know, I couldn’t find any evidence that they have on the internet. So for now I am viewing them and admiring them as they are presented in the book.

For me I really find the combination of sketches and photographs and the way they are presented refreshing. It makes a change from seeing photographs of works that are presented clearly and perfectly with perpendicular lines. This presentation which is the usual for work is exact and sterile, Mikhailov’s gives a sense of reality to his work by photographing them as if looking through his artist book in real time.

This is another presentation method that has inspired me and again one that can be used in my own practices.

As you can see by my research within this blog, I have fallen in love with Mikhailov and his work. I have just written about a few of his series that have inspired me. He experiments and works in both documentary, conceptual and creative photography and combines other art skills such as painting and drawing within his series. I am also very taken with how he presents his work particularly his artists books which I will be looking at for my own work, producing artist books looks a great thing to research further.


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