Prattles

Ramblings of Anna Pratt, Twin Cities journalist

Through the lens of Boris Scherbakov

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Here’s another art piece that I wrote for Twin Cities Luxury and Fashion magazine’s January issue highlighting local photographer Boris Scherbakov.

Through the lens of Boris Scherbakov
A tale of four cities

Minneapolis artist Boris Scherbakov’s snapshots from Moscow, London, Berlin and New York illustrate subjects ranging from the interplay of light and shadow to cultural critique.

And although Scherbakov’s photos vary wildly, they push and pull on common themes: connection/detachment, consumption/consumers and high-brow/low-brow art.

Though he shoots in film, he isn’t opposed to digital photography. Rather, he says, “I enjoy the whole process, including the physical record places and people I meet, taking time to develop that.”

Scherbakov, a native of Russia, conveys empathy for those he encounters in a “Tale of Flame and Flowers,” a series of black-and-white photos set in Moscow. For example, a gray-haired artist poses at an outdoor “dream gallery.” Down a separate corridor, passersby find refuge from the elements, while a woman toting an umbrella heads toward a light-filled doorway. Likening light to heat, which figures prominently in the works, Scherbakov explains that for Russians, “[Heat] is seen as something through which they
achieve enlightenment.”

In contrast, images of New York City are dominated by busy storefronts lining Madison Avenue and parts of Little Italy, advertising shoes, bras and more. With the exception of “Melancholia,” which alludes to the sad expression on a mannequin’s face, they reveal little emotion. Neon light streams in from everywhere. “The visual stimulus bombards you everyday … It overwhelmed me,” says the artist; his point is expressed through double exposures.

Similarly, Scherbakov’s photos from London’s 2006 Frieze Art Fair hit on consumer culture, although he readily admits, “I found myself paying more attention to the collectors” — and not the art itself. The collectors, who “represent a limited class of people and the other side of making art, which is valuing and collecting it,” appear like an alien species, framed at weird angles opposite the artwork.

In Berlin, he focuses on eye-popping graffiti. No people are to be found. Instead, the ubiquitous scribbles seem to announce that so-and-so was here.

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Written by annapratt

February 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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