The MEP is proud to present the most important retrospective to date devoted to the Ukrainian artist Boris Mikhailov in France. Today considered one of the most influential contemporary artists from Eastern Europe, he has been developing a body of experimental photographic work exploring social and political subjects for more than fifty years.


  • De la série « Crimean Snobbism », 1982
    Tirage argentique sépia, 15 x 20 cm
    © Boris Mikhailov, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève, Paris.
    Tate : Acheté avec l'aide de l'Art Fund (avec une contribution de la Wolfson Foundation) et Konstantin Grigorishin 2011.

  • De la série « Luriki » (Colored Soviet Portrait), 1971-85.
    Photographie noir et blanc colorée à la main, 81 x 61 cm
    © Boris Mikhailov. Collection Pinault. Courtesy Guido Costa Projects, Orlando Photo

  • De la série « National Hero », 1991
    Tirage à développement chromogène, 120 x 81 cm
    © Boris Mikhailov, VG Bild- Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève, Paris.

  • De la série « At Dusk », 1993
    Tirage à développement chromogène, 132,9 x 66 cm
    © Boris Mikhailov, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève, Paris.

  • De la série « Red », 1968-75.
    Tirage chromogène numérique, 45,5 x 30,5 cm
    © Boris Mikhailov, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
    Tate : Acheté avec l'aide de l'Art Fund (avec une contribution de la Wolfson Foundation) et Konstantin Grigorishin 2011.

  • De la série « Salt Lake », 1986
    Tirage à développement chromogène ton sépia, 75,5 x 104,5 cm
    © Boris Mikhailov, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève, Paris.

The exhibition

Since the 1960s, he has been creating a haunting record of the tumultuous changes in Ukraine that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disastrous consequences of its dissolution. His photographs, often full of irony and self-parody, play with propaganda images and offer a visual testimony of the social reality of his country.

Conceived in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition brings together nearly 400 images that draw on more than fifteen of his most important series, like “Red” and “Case History”, as well as his most recent work.

By using burlesque stagings (“I am not I” and “Crimean Snobbisme”) and by twisting archives documents (“Luriki” and “Sots Art”) Boris Mikhaïlov reconciles humour and tragic without stoping to defend the freedom to create as a means of emancipation and opposition towards any form of oppression.

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Image : De la série « Yesterday’s sandwich », 1966-68 © Boris Mikhailov,VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

The artist

Born in 1938 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and trained as an engineer, Boris Mikhailov is a self-taught photographer. Early in his career, he was given a camera in order to document the state-owned factory where he was employed; he used it to take nude photographs of his wife. He developed them in the factory’s laboratory, and was fired after they were found by KGB agents.

Today seen as one of the most important figures on the international art scene, he has received many prestigious awards, among them the 2015 Goslar Kaiserring Award, the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize (now the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Award) in 2001 and the Hasselblad Award in 2000. He represented Ukraine at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and again in 2017.

His work has been exhibited in major international venues, including the Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York, and more recently, the Berlinische Galerie and C/O Berlin in Berlin, the Pinchuk Art Center in Kyiv, the Sprengel Museum in Hannover and the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden Baden.

Boris Mikhailov is represented in Paris by the Suzanne Tarasieve Gallery. He also shows his work at the Sprovieri Gallery in London, Guido Costa Projects in Turin, Barbara Gross in Munich and Galerie Barbara Weiss in Berlin.

He lives between Berlin and Kharkiv with his wife, Vita.

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