Once Upon The War: Introducing The Kharkiv School of Photography

Kharkiv School of Photography is an artistic milieu that emerged in the 1970s in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine. It was a school of aesthetic thought which never had any official status, where ‘education’ happened in clubs and coffee shops — not a school to attend classes. Still, the artists created an original visual language that broke free from the dominant Soviet dogma in arts. It defined the discourse for the next generations in Kharkiv and entire Ukraine and evolved into a distinctive aesthetic system, offering a documentary chronicle of over 50 years of its history.

Heavily bombed by the Russian army, several photographers of the group still remain in Kharkiv, as others managed to escape leaving their archives behind. An operation to preserve these documents is ongoing.

Ukraine-Russia/Volleyball, 1992

Viktor & Sergiy Kochetov/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
Viktor Kochetov creates work with his son Sergiy. They are well-known for hand-colouring black and white prints in the tradition of luriki — enlarged, retouched and often tinted photographic portraits.

More: The Kharkiv School of Photography h/t: guardian

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Working Woman, 1978

Viktor & Sergiy Kochetov/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
A large number of prints in the works are single or double panoramas featuring sceneries of Kharkiv, its outskirts and other locations to which the photographers were sent on assignments.

Healing Muds, 2008

Sergiy Lebedynskyy/c/o Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
A young Ukrainian photographer currently living in Germany, Sergiy Lebedynskyy founded the group Shilo in 2010 with Vladyslav Krasnoshchok, Vadim Trykoz and Oleksiy Sobolev.

Healing Muds, 2012

Sergiy Lebedynskyy/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
A curator and collector, Lebedynskyy’s collection became the core of the Museum of Kharkiv School of Photography (Moksop) founded in 2018.

Untitled, c. 1995

Sergiy Solonsky/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
An active participant of exhibitions since the late 1980s, Sergiy Solonsky drew the public’s attention with his collages in the Bestiary series. Solonsky’s compositions develop the principle of ‘module collage’, which is based on creating an image by repeating one and the same element.

Untitled, 2010-2018

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
From the Bolnichka series. Bolnichka is a diminutive form of Russian bolnitsa (hospital). A maxillofacial surgeon in the Kharkiv state emergency hospital, Vladyslav Krasnoshchok was first drawn by the idea of chronicling routine life of colleagues as a part of his own story.

Untitled, 2010-2018

Vladyslav Krasnoshchok/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
From the Bolnichka series. Lasting for 10 years, the series expanded into a candid narration about the underside of the artist’s native city he was pretty familiar with, having stitched thousands of traumas after fights or accidents.

Untitled, 1985-1988

Evgeniy Pavlov/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
From the Archival series. Evgeniy Pavlov is one of the founders of the Kharkiv School of Photography.

Untitled, 1985-1988

Evgeniy Pavlov/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
From the Archival series. Pavlov experimented with a wide range of techniques – from colour slides and overlays to collages and hand-colouring.

Untitled, 1985-1988

Evgeniy Pavlov/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
From the Archival series.

Witches’ Sabbath, 1988

Roman Pyatkovka/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
Part of a group show of artists belonging to the Kharkiv School of Photography. Roman Pyatkovka’s erotic scenes hidden in the interiors of Kharkivian kommunalkas (community apartments), refer to a thirst for escape and freedom.

Alternative, 1985

Evgeniy Pavlov/Alexandra de Viveiros Gallery
From the Montages series.

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