Running to the Edge
Photographs by Julia Borissova,
June 6, 2014
The probability of returned memory
Igor Lebedev, Critic
Memory rolls in like waves causing a sudden and acute experience which doesn’t refer to a life of a specific person. This memory is connected to a cultural stratum. Everything is mixed here, the present and the past, some old photo portraits telling the stories of life which were erased by flow of time, dried flowers that represent markers of what was important but was forgotten, the memories of what happened, but couldn’t be remembered. So we can see it all in the pictures of the new series Escape to the edge by Julia Borisova.
The imperfection of memory provokes an artist to restore it, so in her work she turns to archives again and again, systematically reinterpreting them at the new levels of personal awareness of not ancestral memory but the memory of the nation. Through its reconstruction it’s easier to recover what has been lost and what has continued as consequences of birth traumas which took place in Russian history so often.
An archive is an anonymous evidence of elapsed time. The anonymity is inherent in a multi-level cultural de-identification of the past. However, despite the apparent constancy of its anonymity, it is surprisingly ready to manipulation according to the needs of everybody who faces it.
The material included in the archive has great variability of its stories, as a rule, on a superficial level, which can be read from the perspective of nostalgic feelings of the past time in the context of personal experience.
But the work with an archive is not only a subconscious desire for nostalgic revival of the past or an affect of overcoming losses in a chain of generations, although it means also some sensual experiences. It is rather an intuitive feeling of the boundaries rigidly dissecting an established world order, an attempt to understand the reasons for the “explosion” that changes the lives of many generations. And, in the end, created statement based on fetishes (old photographs in this case), the objects of so-called personal museum according to Sigmund Freud is an expression of protest arising at the point where the traumatic overcoming of a loss merges with the desire to counteract the possibility of its recurrence in the future.
It seems that such attempt of expression protest is characteristic for Julia Borisova who in her works refers to events from Russian history connected with the revolution and after that the first wave of emigration. In the old pictures the author adds the multi-layer effect through the using collage technique. The pictures themselves already have the images of a distant, “frozen” by photography past while the fragments of flowers imposed on them marked the present undefined in the flow of time. The occurring in the gap of the past and the present becomes for the author the field of exploring her relationship with the historical predestination.
The people in the photographs can’t realize their future, but for the author it’s ajar from the other side, as the future-in-the past. This is the future as the opposite shore of rapid flow of history, which destroyed the whole world, erased the relations of collective memory, forced to experience the pain of the absence of something that wasn’t experienced. And the most important, provoked a conversation about the “deformed, broken world” made in our minds by the old Soviet and the new post-Soviet society in turns, whose features have collage nature.
Critic – Igor Lebedev
Photographer, curator, teacher. Born in the family of Valery Lebedev in Leningrad (1966). Studied photography at technical college (1983–85). Took up professional photography (1985). Taught at a children’s photographic studio (from 1992). Opened the FK photographic studio at the Petrograd District House of Children’s Creativity. Member of the board of the Photoimage Gallery (1995) and the Traditional Autumn Photomarathon Festival (2000). Member of the Union of Photographic Artists of Russia (1996). Curator of exhibitions of photography. Contributed to exhibitions (from 1995).
Julia Borissova was born in Tallinn, Estonia. She lives in St.Petersburg, Russia where she studied at the Academy of Photographic skills in 2009-2010. She graduated from the Foundation of Informational and Cultural projects “FotoDepartament, the program “Photography as a research”, 2011-2013. Julia took part in the Masterclass by Jan Grarup (Denmark, agency NOOR) 2011; Morten Andersen (Norway) 2011, 2012; Luuk Wilmering (Dutch) 2012; Anouk Kruithof (Dutch) 2013; ; Jaap Scheeren (Dutch) class, 2014; participated in a Workshop of the international photography magazine FOAM.
Her works were included in several Russian and international group shows. Besides she had five solo exhibitions, the last one was in 2014 at FotoDepartamet Gallery in St.Petersburg, Russia.
Julia Borissova is the winner in the 2013 International Fine Art Photography Competition in the Experimental category; the competition “The Baltic Photo Biennale. Photomania” in the Fine Art category; participant at the Noorderlicht International Photofestival 2013 TWENTY. Her first book “The Farther Shore” was selected for the shortlist of the 50 books in the International Photobook Festival 2013 in Kassel, Germany. The project “Running to the Edge” was selected for the top 10 professional shortlist in the Conceptual category, in the 2013 Sony Word Photography Awards.
Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Russian Museum (St. Petersburg) and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris).
Julia Borissova considers photography as a way of research and recognition the intangible meaning in the world. She thinks that act of photographing attemps to make sensation visible. She explores ideas of the image and the materiality of the medium of photography. She also uses photographs as a material for making collages and transfers them on different surfaces to create the other forms. She also creates and publishes art-books.
The project “DOM. Part 3″ on Prizm
The project “DOM” on Posi+tive Magazine
The project “DOM. Part 3″ in the art-magazine “Iskusstvo” (Moscow)
“Running to the Edge” on Elephant Magazine
“The Farther Shore” on Phases
The project “DOM” on v-e-l-l-u-m
“In the mountains is my heart” on SMBHmag
The project “DOM” on Le Journal de la Photographie
The interview for the Japanese magazine “Chemodan”
Landscape Stories Magazine 12 | River
“Tideland” on Naturae
‘The Farther Shore’ on Urbanautica
The interview for the Sony World Photography Awards
Archivo Portfolio’13 editor’s choice
“FOTO & VIDEO” Magazine, № 6 June 2012 (Moscow)
“FOTO & VIDEO” Magazine, № 3 March 2012 (Moscow)
“Home & Space” Magazine №20 (Tumen, Russia), Aug 2011
“RUSSIAN REPORTER” Magazine, № 25 Jun 2011 (Moscow)
“FOTO & VIDEO” Magazine, № 2 Feb 2011 (Moscow)
“FOTO & VIDEO” Magazine, № 8 Aug 2011 (Moscow)