Boris Mikhailov: From Photography Talks

Photo: Nobuyoshi Аraki. Courtesy of BOris and Vita Mikhailov.

The publication is a tribute to Viktor Marushchenko. Boris and Vita Mikhailov are grateful to Viktor for their conversations on photography and particularly for the “trash” talks.

 

  • I think I should start with the city itself.

Kharkiv was a special city. That wasn’t a place where you would have a sentimental melody like “Danube, Danube, go find out…” stuck in your head. It would rather be Vysotsky’s “… when they beat iron against glass…” or Yevtushenko’s:

“It hails in Kharkiv city.

…………………………….

Here’s a tough fat-faced bastard,

The hail hits his head –

And whips down his short peak cap!”

or Chichibabin’s “Red tomatoes, eat them without me…” [1]. That’s the city of Klavdiya Shulzhenko, Eduard Limonov and Golubaya loshad [Blue horse]. That was a city of big energies, but its cultural tradition provided no access to calm contemplation or tranquility through its cultural tradition. 

Unlike in Kyiv, in Kharkiv it was impossible to earn one’s living with photography: neither reportage nor art photography was in demand. The lack of interest in it as well as the absence of official demand and any kind of money dictate let the photography there grow free.

In the  ’60s, research institutes and project organizations that were aplenty in the city started opening technical photo labs of their own with staff photographers who usually were former engineers. The former engineers that became photographers started doing art photography as well choosing something that gave them creative freedom.

I was an engineer that became a photographer and Kharkiv came to be the place where I made it as a photographer.

In the early ’60s, we got a chance to say something using different colours and other meanings, and it felt like we could already touch upon the things that we hadn’t been allowed to… the taboos of the past started shaking. The Thaw loosened the grip of censorship along with its four main directions: criticism of the Soviet regime, “formalist” aesthetics, religion, mysticism, erotica and pornography.

It didn’t look like something was happening in the streets apart from demonstrations and other official events, plus communal vigilance. There was nothing to shoot, but we tried to make something out of nothing, and everyone saw this nothing in their own way. Besides shooting, we went on working with the images we got in the labs trying to find a way for our photography not only to reflect life but also to compete with painting.

The accidental formality of my superimpositions, Tubalev’s experiments, Suprun’s collages and Maliovany’s equidensities gave a new photo perspective and a new understanding of life. We started creating new worlds. And one of the possible definitions that I thought would be descriptive of what our activities had in common was manipulative photography.

Superimposing a picture over another one is a manipulation. Drawing on a picture is a manipulation. A row of pictures is a manipulation because the pictures get arranged in a certain selected order.

 

 

  • On Black Square:

Unexpectedly I arrived at a thought that my art teacher was the BUILDING I was born and grew up in. That was a massive grey constructivist building from the 30s with square planes and dark hollows reminding me of Malevich’s “Black Square”. It used to be home to the major constructors of the Soviet tanks. That special constructivist building, having amalgamated in my mind with Malevich, shaped a STANDARD inside me, which I applied to assess reality. I saw that building as an achievement of the Soviet technology which started, as it seemed to me back then, to move in an odd and often absurd direction after the war.

And I understood the introduction to depicting a square as a constructive element with its subsequent transformation into a broken line…

Boris Mikhailov, “Home”, late 1950s. Courtesy of the artist.

My photography started in the mid-’60s and all the time till the collapse of the USSR it remained unofficial. To my mind, by doing photography for such a long time and reflecting on social changes, I kind of drew a conclusion of the Soviet and maybe added the touches and elements to the historical chronicle of the country lacked.

The air of history is typical of all of my series because of the presence of a social portrait in them: bodies, clothes, gestures, everything that carries the signs of time. I tried to speak of what was important to me and it turned out to be important for many others.

I think that Soviet history lives in the combination of the official photographic information and the Soviet underground.

And in my opinion, any deviation, even a small one, from what was officially accepted fell under the category of the so-called “blow”, which was opposed to the conventional meanings and formalities. That was the expression of my civic stance in photography, and a civic stance is always negative.

And the biggest “blow”, to my mind, was performed by Komar and Melamid in their work “The Origin of Socialist Realism” (1982/1983), but they made it after their immigration. All that artists were left to make while inside the country was some kind of a concealed statement. One had to try to:
1) tell the truth, adding little by little a fly to the ointment of the official half-truth;
2) oppose the official image from the aesthetic point of view.

 

  • Often people didn’t quite understand and accept what I did.

The confidence in the fact that I was doing something important and the desire to share it made me look for an audience outside the Kharkiv photography community. For the most part, my audience included various cultural figures visiting Kharkiv: poets and, what is more important, cameramen and film directors. In the mid-’70s, I started going to the Baltic states and Moscow.

First, it was Riga… Then the indisputable capital of Soviet photography, Lithuania (a 100% photography leader) took the photographic sphere by storm back then. It had everything: the beauty, the social, the national, new technologies and the feel of life… a profound depth of the photographic culture… Vilnius, Kaunas, photography festivals in Nida… Vitas Luckus…

In Moscow, there was Andrey Dobrovolskiy, who was filming a documentary on water births and took me with him to the shooting… there was Ivan Dykhovichny… there were A. Sliussarev, S. Gitman, Savelyev, S. Tarnovetskiy… There was also the Moscow Conceptualism group: I. Chuikov, V. Yankilevsky, E. Gorohovskiy, D. Prigov… and ultimately Ilya Kabakov, who is still present in my life.

And since I had my works and constantly created new ones, and that they resonated with that community, the fellowship was born.

Boris Mikhailov, works from 1960s. Courtesy of the artist.

A lot has been already erased from my memory. We were in the photo club. I came there in 1966, Suprun joined in 1967, Tubalev in 1968, Maliovany in 1969, and then, in the early  ’70s, Pavlov and Rupin joined us… This is from the photo club’s documents that survived. We talked, shared our works with each other, worked out various viewpoints and accumulated the photographic mass.

And in 1973 we, the active group of maestros, the three pillars, Maliovany, Mikhailov and Suprun, together with the new energy coming with Rupin, Pavlov, Sitnichenko and Makiyenko, organized the “Vremia” [Time] creative group, which didn’t exist for a very long time as it seems to me now.

I still remember the time we sent our pictures abroad. The pictures returned with a scandal and after that, the photo club was closed. Also, there was a photo exhibition in the House of Scientists. That was an official exhibition, but after I saw how strong the inside censorship was, I decided not to submit any serious works. The exhibition was closed anyway, so I can say that the “blow” was inflicted.

That was our only exhibition, and it was closed right off.

But we did our job. We announced that it happened. We announced that it wasn’t a small but a serious thing. We announced that there was a transition from one conceptual formation to another freer one and that the ’60s and ’70s with our formal photography and “no” photography weren’t for nothing.

Did we have collective practices back then? Yes and no. If we are talking about something like Andrei Monastyrsky’s Collective Actions [Kollektivnyye deystviya] art group in Moscow, then no, we didn’t have any. What did we have then? There were various peer collaborations which were not yet burdened with the capitalistic relationship.

Maliovany has a picture with me. It is a good picture, but it wasn’t thought out in advance. He was taking a picture of a girl, as I entered the frame and improvised. As a photographer, he reacted to that and took a shot. He doesn’t have any photos of that kind, because Oleg is different, he think differently. His photography is about stunning colours, almost abstract colour spots and no story. And during another shooting, he came up from the back and photographed my picture. It is said he later got a medal for it.

So it isn’t that easy to come to collective actions.

Or here we are together with Zhenya [Evgeniy] Pavlov at our joint shooting, the one where I am in the frame… I have similar images, but I didn’t use them… For me, they were more like photo studies…

Describing the work of the Collective Actions, Andrei Monastyrsky says that it was the result of the interaction of all its participants: both the audience and the artists. The only difference is that the participation of the audience and the creative contribution in percentage terms are incomparable. In other words, some simply participate while some come up with the idea of an event.

Boris Mikhailov, works from 1960s. Courtesy of the artist.

  • On Accidentality and Sandwiches:

It wasn’t an accidentality but His Majesty Chance that knows who and when needs help.

Someone else might have developed a film, then cut it carefully, checked it and put it in a file. But I developed a bunch of films and off-handedly threw them on the bed, so two films stuck together like a sandwich Suddenly, I saw a totally new, metaphoric image. Moving one film along the other, I could quickly get a huge number of image combinations, and I only needed to pick the most important ones.

This kind of superimposition of one slide over another with a possibility to view many variants and pick from them was my discovery and became my method

That was how the Yesterday’s Sandwich series appeared. From the mid-’70s I used to demonstrate it as a slide show at non-official club and home screenings to the Pink Floyd music. 

I sensed that good things can be accidental and it is important not to miss what falls to your lot. That was a programmed accidentality. I knew that something would help me with a picture, and often, not even knowing what for, I would shoot something irrelevant, because I felt like it could be layered over or get combined with something and create a new understanding of connection or relationship between various concepts, usually opposite ones.

It was an accident, which is way wider than a forethought, that gave me a possibility to get novel combinations of various meanings. Nothing else, but an accident!

The expected is a sort of confirmation, while in that situation I had absolutely different unexpected variants. The accidentality gave the feeling of unexpectedness to me, the unexpectedness of connections between things, surprising me with its randomness again and again.
The unexpectedness of the topics I worked with was dictated by the time.

One more thing about Sandwiches: there was a lot of body in them. A body there is emptiness, transparency that one can see through. It may sound like a joke, but if you understand the technical process of making a sandwich, then it seems fair to say that you could see the whole world through someone’s ass. The transparency of a body lets you see everything else, that was why bodies were so essential for me in Yesterday’s Sandwich.

I think that the Yesterday’s Sandwich series corresponded to the outlook of a Soviet person of the  ’60 and70s, who, just like me, was already aware of the duality of Soviet life and in a way spoke about the beginning of the changes in the society and its democratization.

Two diapositives layered over each other were about the duality that was a part of our consciousness back then: the duality of the totalitarian past and the present, which seemed democratic and was so stated. And the superimposition of symbolic opposites in one frame conveyed the coexistence which was consonant with the slogan of the time and became a part of the mentality. The major feature of superimpositions, namely their transparency, when related to politics demonstrated that the latter one should have been transparent

Just like at some point the invention of a paint tube made a revolution in painting allowing artists to go out en plein air, the ORWO CHROM diapositive film made a revolution in photography. It gave colour to the outside world, which before that had been only black and white. It changed everything in photography, which had hinged on light and shadow before. That film was essential for self-expression, and I was into slides probably more than anyone else. It was more than a transition to another aesthetic platform. And it was my inner understanding of the fact that the whole country switched over from black-and-white images of the outward things to the concept of the world of colour, that kind of increased the level of sufficiency towards improvement.

I can be happy that I empirically discovered a possibility to demonstrate the poetics of invisible connections, which are nothing but the outlook and the perception of the world. Those connections were discovered as I was randomly moving slides. And that was the interpretation of the visible world in a sensual cathartic form and the imagery of the time.

As an artist, I managed to reveal and present a body of mass culture images or collective unconscious of a Soviet person in the60 and70s, defining an approximate scope of questions raised before the society back then. The method of superimposition of two positive films formally united several topics into one common worldview or a big mass culture body in some way connected with the world of memory and collective unconscious of a Soviet person.

Boris Mikhailov, from Yesterday’s Sandwhich, late 1960s – 1970s, overlays. Courtesy of the artist.

  • On the low quality and the Diary series:

Before photography, I was involved in cinema, and I made a film about the plant I worked at. It was a numbered plant related to the space industry and located at the place where a labour facility for homeless children used to be before. I went to a state archive to work with documentary photography which I later used in the film. Most of the photos in the archive were damaged or were of very poor quality, but this made them look so creepy and so powerful and highlighted the feeling of dread coming from them so much that the bad quality stopped being just bad quality and became an essential artistic device.

I guess the elimination of quality, just like the choice of unacceptable topics, was my reaction against traditions in search of something new. And there was some totally new attitude to ordinariness in it. I think that the direction I intuitively chose then might have been called trash photography, and it turned out to coincide with the global trend in art at that time, the trash art, which dates back to Duchamp, who had exhibited the Fountain urinal in a museum. That act of his can also be interpreted as drawing attention to the unacceptable. He broke the semantic space by scoring a crack between the museum and the introduced object.

Semantic cracks, as well as visual cracks, created trash, and the non-glamour became its aesthetics. Low quality became a new meaning. Any ambiguity of a negative sign (a semantic crack) in my photography broke the space of ideology.

A photographer’s task is to always find this new subtle and vague borderline between the permitted and the prohibited. This borderline is contstantly changing just like life itself. And just like every period has its own characteristics, it also has its own taboos, which are its characteristics as well.

Back then I often didn’t need a quality picture. I wanted to see it as soon as possible. I once defined the low quality of my pictures through Soviet context: for me, a normal Soviet image was supposed to be worse than a normal one. Its quality should have been of average Soviet quality.

The average Soviet quality became a part of my aesthetics.

The ideal image quality corresponds to something similar in real life. I didn’t see the ideal correspondence, so the picture didn’t have to be ideal. It needed to correspond to what I saw.

For me, classic photography, like Salt Lake or Dance, was out of an experiment. The ordinariness of the topic worked there against the tradition of the Soviet school of photography.

The Diary series is my diary written in photography.

It focuses on the private: there’s so much personal stuff. Also, there’s the social in it: it is about the life that surrounded me, and in this series, one can see everything I did in photography then…

At a retrospective show, the Diary series works as a preview of the whole exhibition.

Diary is my rare appeal to archive, and it is one of the most serious recent works of mine. And neither it is about the archive, nor about my life. The thing is that it is made up of original photos taken in the  ’60s. I presented a collection conceptually united by low quality as a new aesthetic version. I was one of the first photographers in the USSR who paid attention to that kind of defectiveness.

This defectiveness can convey various meanings, and many of them are presented here. And each of these meanings can have a form of presentation, just like in painting. 

The things that are not accepted in the photography guild, are natural in the culture. And here photography has proven that it is at the same level as culture, but not at the level of craft. In the long row of small pictures, there are big ones as a sort of quiet warning that any small picture here can speak up.

While doing retrospective shows, artists always get back to their past. But as we work (I work together with my wife) at my shows, we always look for new compositional decisions and accents that new venue and time require. This must feel like a new production of an old opera.

In the early  ’80s, I came to Moscow with a backpack full of photographs. Right with this 10-kilo pack, I changed to a commuter train to find myself out of town at a Collective Actions event… That was a series of photos that weren’t included in the major series. And that series was a conceptual one and started with a page of text.

One could call it work with the archive.

But even then I understood that I’d had enough and there was no point in digging into old photographs anymore. Everything IMPORTANT had already been found and said. And anything that hadn’t been found in its time, wasn’t important. It wasn’t necessarily something bad, but it wasn’t important.

Everything important that I shot, was printed right away and shown on time. Probably that was why it worked.

Boris Mikhailov, from the Diary series, 1960-2015. Courtesy of the artist.

  • On the average person:

My average person isn’t a Gogol’s cornered mouse. I’ve got my mice dragged out, and they became heroes. My average Soviet persons have power, if not over their lives, then at least in the streets, at meetings and demonstrations. This is obvious from both their behaviour and the attitude to the surrounding environment.

I have various definitions of such notions as average Soviet person, average person and hero. Of course, this all must seem quite arbitrary, but definitions and findings like that helped me do my photography.

An average and already non-ideologized person appeared in my work at a Berdyansk beach in 1981 in the series titled Berdyansk, beach, Sunday, from 11 am to 1 pm… Due to some personal problems (I’d broken up with a girl I loved) I suddenly felt that the Soviet ceased to have power. All at once, I stopped feeling the pressure of the ideology; it turned out to be not the only thing that could make one feel bad. It was exactly then, in Berdyansk, that I saw a man playing with kids and all of a sudden realised that he didn’t feel the pressure of the Soviet ideology just as well as the rest of the people at that beach. And I took a closer look at him. Who was he, that person at an average location where there were no Soviet slogans? He was an average person, sort of outside the regime. It seemed like the regime didn’t have power over him and he was just the way he was, busy with his everyday activities. But sometimes it happened that the deeply-rooted Soviet traits suddenly revealed a Soviet person in him… Here he is standing at the seafront simply outstretching his arm in front of him… and all of a sudden you get the pose of a Soviet leader.

The average person doesn’t appear in the Case History series. I refer to the people there as heroes. The painful time of the mid-’90s produced a new type of hero: a big group of wretched people, the homeless.

But homeless people aren’t the heroes that society is normally proud of. If a hero represents an ideal collective need or a generalised character, then when it comes to the homeless, society despises them or is ashamed of them for the most part.

This series isn’t focused on a single case that can happen anywhere, in any country and doesn’t have any link to the time like the Evgeniy Pavlov’s delirium [2].

Case History is about desperate life which back then, with the collapse of the state, everyone’s life could turn into.

Boris Mikhailov, “Requiem” from the Case history series, 1997-1998. Courtesy of the artist.

There is something that characterises time (this is something I always tried to bring to life and wanted to work with)… but there also is a timeless image that an artist can work within a kind of abstract time and space.

I also have photographs of dancing people – several vertical pictures taken in the late  ’60s. Later, I created the Dance series. This series isn’t a description of anything Soviet. It is about a group of people that easily could be from anywhere, some sort of general uniqueness, and that fit the global humanist view on life.

Boris Mikhailov, from the Dance series, 1978. Courtesy of the artist.

  • On the parallel association method:

In 1981, at a Berdyansk beach, I took a photo (Berdyansk, Beach, Sunday, from 11 am to 1 pm series) that reminded me of the old images taken in the USA at the times of the Great Depression. I kind of put the clock back by 50 years. When a modern image looks like one taken long ago, as if saying to us where we are at now, I call it the parallel association method. This method later helped me create the series By the Ground and At Dusk.

Борис Михайлов, з серії Біля Землі, 1991. Люб’язно надано автором.

  • On anonymity:

When I started doing photography professionally, I realised that in every family’s photo album one can find a masterpiece, because the result of the accidental is more powerful than the result of the imagined.

The elementary photography that photos from family albums manifest conveys life with a sort of elementary authenticity. And to me, that style of the so-called anonymous photography was closer to reality.

I started working in the style of elementary home photography and strived to make it a photography style of my own.

Work with anonymous visuals always seemed important to me. In music, composers often use folk tunes. But there is also an inverse phenomenon when neither music nor lyrics have an author. 

The same applies to visual anonymity: the general field of anonymity associated above all with the Internet is huge. It is constantly being explored, and it constantly gets replenished. What remains important is to reveal, analyse and separate this anonymous from the authorial.

Getting back to family albums, I’d like to mention that when I was doing luriki as a side job, I would search for and collect photographs from home photo albums. The photos that I picked were associated with Soviet lifestyle. I wanted to convey the feeling of the private side of Soviet time that for me personally originated in the combination of Soviet clichés and natural facial expressions, clothes and domestic life.

The understanding of the average public interest helped me rethink and use the material I’d collected and create the Luriki series, or, as I also call it – Soviet coloured portrait.

I think the series turned out just right because in a way it was speaking on the part of the public, or the community called Soviet people.

That was sort of public truth about the society and the time. And I was speaking on everyone’s behalf.

For me speaking on someone’s behalf became a new aesthetics connected with anonymity.

This series is somewhat like a transition from something local that existed on its own (an album) to something global that could be found at every home (a portrait that everyone had). In my later works, such as By the Ground (1991), At Dusk (1993) and Case History (1997/1998), I interpreted a local event as a part of a complex situation. As I was working on them, I experienced the general post-Soviet situation.

For me work with the anonymous presupposed the analysis and the subsequent systematization of the visuals scattered in the culture as well as revealing and adopting a part of them.

So it’s like you take this culture, spotlight it and explore it. It is different every time, and it has an endless number of images. The search of anonymity never stops.

Boris Mikhailov, from the Luriki series, 1971-1985. Courtesy of the artist.

  • On viscidity and the series with texts:

The quiet and faceless life of the late 1970s was the time of deep political stagnancy. Nothing happened, yet nothing seemed interesting. Even the photographs I got didn’t give anything new apart from aesthetically old images. I felt overloaded with photography – it seemed like it came to its end. I was searching for new moves I would be able to make in that state of overloadedness. Writing teхt on photographs was one of them.

Doing studies on long sheets of matte paper, I started printing two pictures on one sheet for time- and material-saving reasons. Then I wrote something with a pencil in between the pictures and I saw that I got a new and interesting combination that I hadn’t seen earlier. For the most part, everything I got, I got it intuitively.

I made three series with texts: Vertical Pictures, Horizontal Calendars, 1978/1980 (a short story), Viscidity, 1982 (poetry) and Unfinished Dissertation 1984 (photography manifest). In each of the series, texts played different roles: in the beginning they just tautologically repeated what you saw, simply drawing your attention to the photographs (the first book). Then they started changing and gradually became more poetic and deep (the second book)… and later they switched from personal things to reflection on photography. Also, quotations and someone else’s writing get added (the third book).

That wasn’t just making a book layout but creating a new photography object.

I wanted to photograph life as it was and didn’t want anything to be disturbed by my presence because “if I came up, the boys would start laughing…” and the picture would cease to exist.

My inner tension connected clean photographs with no artistic value with my absolutely simple texts, and that was how the general viscidity of surrounding life got described.

Viscidity is the time in which the country lived then. I wanted to convey the feelings I experienced, to state, “That’s what I saw and that’s how I felt!” There was some kind of certainty that a lot of people felt that way on the cusp of something unknown waiting on all of us. I found another way to express the correspondence of life and photography.

In a way, the inner tension and intellectualism comprised the inner base at that time.

Boris Mikhailov, from the Viscidity series, 1982. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Once again on the texts and Viscidity:

I was walking in a field. I didn’t have a camera on me. Suddenly, a shadow of a flying-by plane fell on me. I went home, grabbed my camera and took a photo of the place. Then, below the photo I got with nothing but sky and the grass in the field in it, I wrote, “Here the shadow of a plane fell on me.” That fixation became a new move. There were both truth and untruth there. Also, that was a new type of photography. The caption removed my figure and the shadow of the plane from the image making it simpler and more elementary but leaving the information. SUM=PHOTO+TEXT. There is reality and something else (irreality) here.

It seemed to me that a photo created in such a way would much better tell about the global than a simple photo and that a set of photographs would much better tell about the situation in the country and my perception.

(THE VISIBLE, a photo + THE IMAGINED, a text) = my subjective view.

A subjective outlook is similar to the attention of a photographer. It is the attention paid to many things at the same time – like a wide-angle lens, or to something very specific – like a normal or a long-focus lens.

At the time I was working on that series, I started getting pictures with some kind of inner repression. That state of a simplified reaction to life made something elementary, only visible but not sensuous stand out from the environment.

Viscidity is the removal of a sensuous experience and the affirmation of my visible. It is a line of documentation.

There was the anticipation of the change of the government and shifts at the top. There was no catharsis nor nostalgia  – only day-to-dayness. That is viscidity.

A photo film spoiled by a policeman said that bad quality can be more important for the understanding of the life of the country than a well-printed photo.

The Viscidity series starts with an announcement that “I got married and want to take beautiful photos” – yes, I want to take beautiful photos! But my dramatic impulse in the search of ideal beauty, or childishness, gradually fades when I face the surrounding life:… a wall… a bulletin board… inaccuracy… a boring portrait of a contemporary… a boring genre… a boring landscape… Even the policeman is surprised, “What’s beautiful about it?” as if to prove that there is NO beauty here. What  there is is frozen day-to-dayness and stagnation.

The desire to take beautiful pictures of snow traces brought me back to trash bins.

I kept searching and I wanted to find beauty, but it was nowhere to be found.

I didn’t find it – that piece of paradise we had been expelled from was not there…

Boris Mikhailov, from the Viscidity series, 1982. Courtesy of the artist.

There are states when it is impossible to take a photograph. Then the state itself becomes the reason to convey it: the state where there is nothing.

Speaking of photography today I cannot but mention the unclear and indefinite future. It is important to at least try to define what can be relied on when one is working in the future, even in the situation of total lack of idea of this future.

Can the base guidelines that can be relied on in the future be found today?

Comparing today’s uncertainty to the uncertainty we lived in, I recall that my guideline in photography was my visual memory that had recorded strong personal impressions from my past that later transformed into various series in my uncertain future.

I remembered and I used my memory.

Also, I think that others have strong today’s memories of their own, and they can be used in the future. It is necessary to pay attention to one’s impressions that are stored in memory and that can become one’s possible guidelines. Memory guidelines… desire guidelines… and new future accidentality that is unknown to us today…

 

(written down by V. Mikhailova)

_________________

1. The mentioned texts are the song “Венок Дуная” (“Danube wreath”, Oskar Borissovich Feltsman, lyrics by Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky), Vladimir Vysotsky’s song “Я не люблю” (I don’t like), Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poem “Град в Харькове” (“Hail in Khakrkiv”) and the untitled poem by Boris Chichibabin from 1946.

2. Mikhailov is talking about Evgeniy Pavlov’s series Psychosis (1983) depicting the patentient of the local psychiatric hospital in the state of delirium

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