Mikhailov Boris . I Am Not I

33 tritone images / text by Simon Baker / LIMITED EDITION OF 1000 / 64 pages / 24 x 33 cm /

These self portraits where done as the Soviet Union crumbled. Boris had once been arrested during the Soviet era for making "pictures ... which did not fit into Soviet propaganda.”

With the collapse of one system and its replacement with another - Boris was now able to portray a nation's face in a different light.

Enter 'Boris' - the personification of a dying paradigm - the Soviet Union. Grandiose postures albeit with dildo in eye, a nation getting an enema, wearing a wig - a farcical anthropomorphism of a collapsing system, an allegory of corruption, inflation, economic collapse etc.

'I thought, if you criticize someone, start with yourself. ... All of a sudden, you see a face that is different from a face that you see every day. This is not you. This is a face. Moreover, when I first took photos of myself, I saw a face that was different than the one known from the ideology of the Russian man. This man was an intelligentik (an intellectual, not a worker, who is not to be trusted in the Soviet Union) ... I am photographing the other, but who am I?'

 

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