Galerie Ron Mandos is proud to present the special collaborative exhibition Jan ♥ Boris with works by Jan Hoek and Diary by Boris Mikhailov, curated by Paul Kooiker. The top ten photographs shot between 2011 and 2016 by Hoek, as chosen by Kooiker, will be shown alongside a selection of photos from Mikhailov’s captivating books Diary and Look at Me I Look at Water; presenting a glimpse into the artist’s personal view on his complete oeuvre.
The exhibition features social observational photography from two major artists, whose combined works span decades, nations and communities. The connection made with the photographed subjects is of utmost importance in the work that both Hoek and Mikhailov produce, and the trust between the subject and the artist is vital in this process. Without the establishment of trust, these works could never come into existence.
Although both artists have been known to push the ethical boundaries of photography, they are able to depict aspects of life and society with a rare rawness that is often touching, humorous and uninhibited all at once.
Jan Hoek was born in the Netherlands in 1984, and completed his studies in Image and Language at the Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam. He was motivated by his mentor Kooiker to delve into photography. His inspiration during his studies, and in fact one of the subjects of his dissertation was Boris Mikhailov. Hoek pushes the boundaries of conventional ethics surrounding photography, and captures groups or individuals who are disenfranchised from their communities. These models, with whom he creates a personal bond, are taken out of the context of their regular existence, and juxtaposed in an entirely opposing setting. These range from series depicting the former heroin addict Kim, who dreams of being a top model, to the men in Nairobi who make a living by tricking Western reporters into believing they are real Somali Pirates although they have never even set eyes on the ocean.
Boris Mikhailov was born in Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union, in 1938. Today he is hailed as one of the most prominent artists to have emerged from the former USSR, however for years he was only able to take pictures in secret and at great risk, under the vigilant eye of the KGB. His thought-provoking and at times confrontational photographs document those on the fringes of society in post-communist Eastern Europe. His work is deeply rooted in a historical context, though he often presents raw, real-life scenarios from daily life. A major theme throughout his work has been to photograph the homeless and other impoverished men, women and children, whose hardships grew out of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mikhailov documents the harsh reality and helplessness of the homeless in Ukraine, who find themselves in this devastating position as a result of the break-up of the Soviet Union.