Boris Mikhailov to Represent Ukraine at 57th Venice Biennale

The pavilion will be curated by Dallas Contemporary.

Boris Mikhailov Tea Coffee Cappuccino, (2000-2010). Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss
Boris Mikhailov Tea Coffee Cappuccino, (2000-2010). Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss

The acclaimed Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov will stage an exhibition at the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale this May, in a presentation curated by Dallas Contemporary.

According to Glasstire, the non-profit museum Dallas Contemporary has strong ties to the Ukrainian art scene through key members of its staff: executive director Peter Doroshenko was the commissioner of the Ukrainian Pavilion in 2007 and 2009, and has also served as director of the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev; while assistant curator Lilia Kudelia, born in Ukraine, was recently chair of external relations at Kiev’s Mystetskyi Arsenal.

Doroshenko and Kudelia have chosen Mikhailov, who will present a new series titled “Parliament” (2014-ongoing). According to a press release, it “focuses on photography’s interaction with media interfaces, and the interplay between analogue and digital representation.”

The Berlin-based septuagenarian is an influential artist with a signature candid style that melds conceptual and documentary approaches, capturing scenes from both Soviet and Post-Soviet Ukraine. “You have to be in insider in a society to be able to depict it the way I try to,” he said in a 2012 interview, on the eve of the opening of his survey show at the Berlinische Galerie.

His seminal series “Case History, depicting the derelict life conditions of those left homeless after the fall of the Soviet Union, was the subject of a major survey at the MoMA in late 2011.

The curators of the Ukrainian Pavilion describe his work as “symptomatic of the current media landscape and the post-truth society we live in. Decomposition of the image in the presented photographs alludes to cyberbalkanization, the phenomenon of echo-chambers, and splintering of the media communities.”

In addition to the main exhibition by Mikhailov, the pavilion will also include works by Ukrainian artists who have been commissioned to interpret and reflect on his artistic oeuvre, and “reflect on the lineage of Ukrainian contemporary art” through it.


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