Boris Mikhailov


Boris Mikhailov, born in Kharkov, Ukraine in 1938, made his series At Dusk in his home city of Kharkov following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In it, he uses twilight to record a society in transition and to evoke childhood memories.

Mikhailov proposes a monochrome visual language to deal with this new social reality. The photographs are tinted blue, both to make them appear 'old' and to refer to the 'blue hour' of twilight.

At Dusk also refers to Ukraine's deprivation during the Second World War, which the artist experienced as a child. Few photographs of this period survive, and there is little photographic history of Ukraine during the Soviet period, so Mikhailov proposes his own constructed history as a substitute.

At Dusk is therefore a hybrid between a documentary and a conceptual project, recording but also staging a time that might be both 1941 and 1993, or neither.


This text was originally written to accompany the exhibition Twilight: Photography in the Magic Hour on display at the V&A South Kensington between 10 October and 17 December 2006.


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