Boris Mikhailov

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Abstract:

Boris Mikhailov's optics is attuned to gaps, to sliding along the sharp edges of ruptures. At the moment of shooting this photographer resembles a terrorist who is pulling the ‘trigger’ of the camera to blow up himself and those around him. Many of his snapshots are accompanied by texts written on the margins, above or below the image. His Red Series (1975–1982) deals with ‘unauthorised’ recollection of public events: jubilant demonstrations, law-abiding citizens at the voting booth, military training routines and so forth. By toning and hand-colouring these slightly anaemic photographs, Mikhailov re-energises them to the degree that they become (almost) acceptable to the mainstream of State Mythology. The Red Series can be seen at Tate Modern (from 18 April 2011).
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