Boris Mikhailov, whose "Unfinished Dissertation" was published in 1998, focuses in "Les Miserables" on what he believes is the result of the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Though Mikhailov considers the conditions of his particular place of residence for over 50 years crucial to his work, he is not providing a recollection of the specific history of Kharkov, Ukraine. Rather, he brings out the "condition humaine" in this city characterized by industry and factories, by newly installed Coca Cola billboards as well as socialist architecture. Kharkov provides the backdrop for Mikhailov's moving portraits describing the decay of both social structures and individual lives. We witness street kids taking drugs, adults in search of food, trying to re-install their social self by cleaning their bodies in the artist's own apartment. Despite devastating poverty, the women and men in Mikhailov's images look back at us with great dignity. Their eyes express an unbroken will to survive in a social system that has broken down completely. Mikhailov depicts the harshness of everyday life in a society not as far away from ours as we might think.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Boris Mikhailov, geboren 1938 in der Ukraine, ist Fotograf und rückte in den letzten Jahren zusehends ins Rampenlicht der Kunstwelt. So hatte er Einzelausstellungen im Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in der Photographer's Gallery, London, und in der DAAD Galerie, Berlin. Seit Herbst 2000 unterrichtet Mikhailov an der Harvard University. Im Jahr 2000 erhielt er den Fotobuchpreis des Internationalen Festivals für Fotografie in Arles und den Hasselblad-Preis.