Boris Mikhailov Unpacks His Secrets of Survival Under the Soviet System

The Ukrainian photographer found freedom in his work.


From November 13 through 16, 2014, the Grand Palais was host to the largest photography art fair in the world, Paris Photo, which celebrated its 18th edition this year. The PLATFORM, an experimental forum for discussion and debate about the various aspects of photography, featured talks between artists and art professionals, as well as presentations of exhibitions, books, and artworks.

For those who were not able to attend Paris Photo and want to watch highlights from the fair, artnet is offering an opportunity to experience the event through a series of filmed conversations between artists, curators, collectors, art critics, and authors.

In this video Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov, who was born in 1938, speaks with independent writer, curator, and lecturer Urs Stahel about his work, including its development in the Soviet Union during the 1970s and ’80s, the “kitchen culture” that privately spread the word about his photographs, and the selection of his themes over time.

The award-winning photographer gained international recognition at the end of the 1980s. His photographs can be found in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art; in London at Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum; and in Amsterdam at the Stedelijk Museum.

Urs Stahel has been editor of the art magazine Du and cofounded the Fotomuseum Winterhur, in Switzerland, where he served as director, curator, and editor from 1993 to 2013.


[Featured image of Boris Mikhailov © Giorgia Valli.]

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