31 Years

Boris Savelev, 2007
Galería Betty Guereta, Madrid 2007

Facebook Twitter

In 2007 The Galería Betty Guereta, Madrid, held a solo exhibition for Boris Savelev. The show consisted of eleven black and white lith prints on oriental paper printed by the artist himself and twenty-one colour multi-layered pigment prints on gesso coated aluminium made by Factum Arte.

All works listed below are in an edition of three, plus one Artist Proof and one Printer Proof.

Tram Conductor, Leningrad 1979
lith print on oriental paper 38 x 38 cm
Sold Out

This is the last of the series of people in their working environments. Boris Savelev travelled to Leningrad to see his friend, the photographer Boris Smelov. While there, he spent the days walking the streets taking photographs and the evenings drinking beer. It was during this trip that he decided to concentrate on images of the two capitals of the Soviet Union, Leningrad and Moscow.

This image was taken as Boris ran alongside the tram with his large Salut 6x6 camera. Looking at this eccentric man running beside her tram the conductor burst out laughing.

Department store on Nevsky Prospect, Leningrad 1980
lith print on oriental paper 38 x 38 cm

This is one of the first successful pictures from the new series of images of Leningrad and Moscow. It was an intensive, high energy and prolific year for Boris during which he started to think about leaving his job as an engineer in the Aerospace Institute. Most of this series was taken on an Iskra 6x6, a small-bodied medium format camera ideal for the type of street photography that interested Savelev. This series preoccupied him during the 1980’s and consists of hundreds of images. Despite being a 'snapshot' its complex composition of vertical divisions and shadowed is characteristic of this series.

Sole of the Foot, Moscow 1982
lith print on oriental paper 30 x 45 cm
Sold Out

Gorky Park is a popular leisure spot for Moskovites. The title of the image refers to the foot of a mother resting against the wire fence. Looking through surfaces that partly obscure the image, like the act of taking a photograph, has always interested Boris and is one of the devices he often uses to make us aware that his is a very specific point of view.

In 1982 Boris Savelev left the Aerospace Institute and started earning a living making pre-press prints for the art publishing house, Sovietsky Khudoschnik (Soviet Artists) where Misha Anikst was the art director. He was printing about five hundred black and white prints a month. Within the photographic community in Moscow Boris Savelev´s self-taught darkroom skills were widely acknowledged and the quality of his prints has always been an important aspect of his work. His control of shadow details and the tonal quality of the images is one of his most developed skills.

Bus Station, Chernowitz 1989
pigment print on gesso 80 x 120 cm
Sold Out

Perhaps one of the most successful of Boris's complex compositions with a seemingly incomprehensible mix of layers, reflectivity, light and tone - the band of hand painted posters for an anti drink and drive campaign increases the complexity.

When taking photographs Boris will suddenly notice something and go through a very specific ritual, hunched with his eye to the viewfinder with an infectious excitement. There is a real joy in the perfection of this composition. The multi-layered digital printing has meant that this particular image can be printed properly for the first time.

During this year Boris visited Chernowitz several times.

Soldier, Moscow 1990
pigment print on gesso 120 x 80 cm
Sold Out

The dark tonality of Boris's images can appear monochromatic, and even the brightly-coloured dress is recorded as dark tone. Boris does manipulate the images in Adobe Photoshop to bring out details in the shadow areas and keep tone in the highlights, but all the images remain moments in time rather than assembled pictures.

This image was recorded in the entrance to an underground station. The underground and public transport systems are important subjects providing a supply of waiting people, grills and architectural elements, dramatic lighting, machines and decay. While the Moscow underground is famous for its grandeur and style it is always incidental moments like this one that interest Boris.

Unlike many contemporary photographers, there is no critical distance, mockery or irony in his images - his is a very kind eye and notices moments that are both raw and intimate.

Dirty Window, Moscow 1993
pigment print on gesso 80 x 120 cm
Sold Out

Taken on a pedestrian overpass this is one of Boris's favourite images. It has been printed as a C type but the uniformity of the surface could never create the physical sensation of the dirt on the glass or establish a difference between the dirty glass and the silvery light seen between the two sheets of glass. For the first time, Boris has been able to work on the file and bring out all the details seen through the glass. This image was made like a painting, drawing out small details in different layers. The use of pigment and gesso enhances this ambiguity.

View a retrospective selection of Boris Savelev's work

We use our own cookies and third-party cookies to improve our services by analysing your browsing habits.
You can accept cookies by clicking on the "Accept" button or configure them or reject their use by clicking HERE.