Boris Mikhailov
Competetion, 1975
Hand-colored gelatin silver print
10 x 13 1/2 in.

Boris Mikhailov
Greetings from Gorky, 1980
Hand-colored gelatin silver print
20 3/4 x 15 in.
 

Andrey Chezhin
Black Square, 1988
Series of 4 gelatin silver prints
11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Andrey Chezhin
Black Square, 1988
Series of 4 gelatin silver prints
11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Andrey Chezhin
Black Square, 1988
Series of 4 gelatin silver prints
11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Nikolai Bakharev
Untitled (#7 from the series Relationship), 1985
Gelatin silver print, printed 1990
Edition 8/13
11 1/4 x 11 1/4 in.
Signed on verso

Nikolai Bakharev
Untitled (Character type #115), 1980s
Gelatin silver print, printed 2011
Edition 3/8
11 1/4 x 11 1/2 in.
Signed on verso

Gennady Bodrov
Untitled (GB-019), 1988
Gelatin silver print
11 x 15 1/4 in.
Signed on verso

Gennady Bodrov
Meat? (GB-016) 1989
Gelatin silver print (GB-016)
11 1/4 x 15 1/4 in.
Signed and dated by photographer on verso

Andrey Chezhin
Black Square, 1988
Series of 4 gelatin silver prints
11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Alexey Titarenko
Untitled, 1987
Photomontage
From the series Nomenklature of Signs
13 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.
Signed on verso

Alexander Lapin
Queue (AL-030), 1982
Gelatin silver print
6 3/8 x 9 5/8 in.
Signed on verso

Alexander Lapin
Foremost Worker (AL-031), 1983
Gelatin silver print
9 x 6 5/8 in.
Signed on verso

Alexander Lapin
Queue (AL-002), 1985
Gelatin silver print
9 1/2 x 6 3/4 in.
Signed on verso

Alexander Lapin
Tulip (AL-013), 1982
Gelatin silver print
10 x 11 in.
Signed on verso

Alexander Lapin
Briefcase (AL-001), 1983
Gelatin silver print
6 1/8 x 9 1/8 in.
Signed on verso

Alexander Lapin
Staircase, 1981
Gelatin silver print
6 3/4 x 9 1/2 in.
Signed on verso and recto

Boris Mikhailov
Untitled, 1985
From the series Salt Lake
Gelatin silver print
5 x 7 1/2 in.
Signed on verso

Boris Mikhailov
Untitled, 1985
From the series Salt Lake
Gelatin silver print
5 x 7 1/2 in.
Signed on verso

Boris Mikhailov
Untitled, 1981
From the series Salt Lake
5 1/4 x 7 1/2 in.
Signed on verso

Alexey Titarenko
Untitled, 1988
From the series Nomenklature of Signs
14 7/8 x 17 in.

Igor Moukhin
Moscow, 1987
Gelatin silver print
4 1/4 x 6 1/2 in.
Signed on verso and recto

Igor Moukhin
Leningrad, 1986
Gelatin silver print
5 1/4 x 3 1/2 in.
Signed on verso

Alexey Titarenko
Untitled (Head of Warehouse Comrade Patseva), 1986
Photomontage
12 7/8 x 13 in.
Signed on verso

Vladimir Kuprianov
Middle Russian Landscape, 1988
Gelatin silver print, printed 1989
15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Vladimir Kuprianov
Middle Russian Landscape, 1988
Gelatin silver print, printed 1989
15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Vladimir Kuprianov
Middle Russian Landscape, 1988
Gelatin silver print, printed 1989
15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Vladimir Kuprianov
Middle Russian Landscape, 1988
Gelatin silver print, printed 1989
15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Vladimir Kuprianov
Middle Russian Landscape, 1988
Gelatin silver print, printed 1989
15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.

Yuri Rybchinsky
Untitled (YR-003), 1978
From the series Forced Labor Colony for Young People
Gelatin silver print
7 1/4 x 11 in.
Stamped on verso

Yuri Rybchinsky
Untitled (YR-002), 1978
From the series Forced Labor Colony for Young People
Gelatin silver print
7 1/4 x 10 3/4 in.

Yuri Rybchinsky
Untitled (YR-042), 1980
From the series Drunk Tank
(City of Cherepovets, Volgogradskaya region)
Gelatin silver print
9 1/4 x 6 3/8 in.

Yuri Rybchinsky
Untitled (YR-019), 1980
From the series Drunk Tank
(City of Cherepovets, Volgogradskaya region)
Gelatin silver print
9 1/4 x 6 3/8 in.

Yuri Rybchinsky
Drunks (YR-067), 1987
Gelatin silver print
7 1/8 x 11 in.
Signed and stamped on verso

Alexey Titarenko
Electrification, 1986
From the series Nomenklature of Signs
Signed on verso

Boris Smelov
Flight, 1988
Gelatin silver print
14 1/2 x 10 in.
Signed by photographer on verso

Boris Smelov
Morning in the Summer Garden, 1972
Gelatin silver print
8 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.
Signed by photographer on verso

Boris Smelov
Spirit of Neva, 1986
Gelatin silver print
7 1/8 x 10 1/2 in.
Signed on verso by photographer

Boris Smelov
Apollo with Spider, 1970s
Gelatin silver print
10 1/2 x 7 in.
Signed by photographer on verso

Boris Smelov
Man with a Bucket, 1973
Gelatin silver print
10 1/2 x 7 1/8 in.
Signed on verso by photogapher
 

Boris Smelov
Wind on the Rooftop. Gumilev's House, 1985
Gelatin silver print
6 7/8 x 10 1/2 in.
Signed by photographer on verso

Boris Smelov
Self-portrait with still life, 1977
Gelatin silver print
8 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.
Signed by photographer on verso

Boris Smelov
Piano, 1975
Gelatin silver print
7 x 10 1/2 in.
Signed on verso

Alexey Titarenko
Untitled, 1988
From the series Nomenklature of Signs
14 7/8 x 17 in.
Signed on verso

Press Release

Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to announce “Underground: Russian Photography 1970s-1980s,” an exhibition of some forty vintage gelatin silver prints by Boris Smelov (1951, Leningrad -1998, St. Petersburg), Boris Mikhailov (b. 1938, Kharkov), Yuri Rytchinsky (b. 1935, Brdiansk), Alexander Lapin (b. 1945, Moscow), Nikolai Bakharev (b. 1946, Novokuznetsk), Gennady Bodrov (1958, Solntsy -1999, Kursk), Vladimir Kuprianov (1954-2011, Moscow), Igor Moukhin (b. 1961, Moscow), Andrey Chezhin (b. 1960, Leningrad), and Alexey Titarenko (b. 1962, Leningrad). The exhibition will run from January 25 through March 24, 2012 at the Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, Suite 704. Gallery hours are 11am-6pm, Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment.

During the Khrushchev’s cultural thaw, nonconformist art and literary movements, involving such figures and activities as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Josef Brodsky and samizdat, had a great impact on the evolution of Russian photography in the 1970s, and laid the foundation for a new generation of photographers during glasnost and perestroika in the 1980s. Photographers in the exhibition challenged the government-prescribed optimistic style of socialist realism by photographing forbidden topics, and like other unofficial artists, they risked personal safety in pursuit for individual expression and freedom. In the 1970s, Boris Mikhailov, a pioneer of Russian conceptual photography, used the medium to reflect skepticism about both approved photography and the false realities it presented. By hand- coloring black-and-white prints in the Sots Art series, Mikhailov skillfully exploited the well- known inventory of socialist realist clichés. In 1971 Boris Smelov’s exhibition was cancelled due to censorship and accusation over the mystical and obscure quality of his cityscapes.

During the pompous climate of the Brezhnev era of stagnation, Yuri Rybchinsky photographed with gritty realism a forced labor colony for young people (1978) exposing the painful aspects of its society. Nikolai Bakharev’s posed group portraits of families, friends or lovers, most of them barely dressed and taken either at a park picnic or at apartments, exploring the underlying morals of a Soviet province, while Vladimir Kuprianov took anonymous portraits from the provinces and printed them on crumpled paper in his “Mid-Russian Landscape” series (1988). More generally, Alexander Lapin and Gennady Bodrov documented the deterioration of the Soviet system, poverty, and alienation. Alexey Titarenko’s photomontages from “Nomenklatura of Signs” (1986-1989) critiqued the Communist regime as an oppressive system that converted citizens into mere signs. Using his body as model, Andrey Chezhin’s “Black Square” series (1988) is both a self-portrait and homage to Malevich. By contrast, Igor Moukhin chose the emerging generation of Moskovites as his subject in his famous “Young People” (1985-1989) series. Taken together, the photographs in the exhibition chronicle an exciting time of change and signaled the end of the Soviet empire.