Savelev Exhibits & Publications


Boris Savelev (born in Chernotsy, Ukraine, USSR, December, 1948) is one of the most talented photographers to come out of the “Seventies” Underground photography movement. He is also the most characteristically Russian of the group. If you were casting a “Russian artist” character for a movie, Boris would fit the role perfectly. He is tall and lanky, with quick eyes and prominent cheekbones, and a wide, expressive mouth. He makes passionate gestures, speaking with fervor, humor, and rapid-fire eloquence about his art, then is suddenly silent, his mind elsewhere, thinking only about his work.
Savelev studied Aeronautical Engineering at the Institute of Aeronautics. His interest in new as well as archaic photographic techniques derives from his scientific training. Self-taught as a photographer, he has worked freelance since 1983. While Savelev worked for the Soviet media in the 1980s, he doesn’t consider his work for the state to be representative of his art.  His personal photographs from the 70s and 80s did not “affirm the socialist values” of Soviet photography and were generally banned from publication and exhibitions. They were seen mostly by a small group of fellow artists and intellectuals until relaxation of state control in the late 1980s. Savelev’s photographs formed a sly critique on the false humanism of the Soviet official photography of the Brezhnev “period of stagnation.” Instead of portraying happy workers building a utopian society, Savelev was a master at capturing the feelings of listlessness and boredom of the time.
Although he refers to his photographs casually as “postcards,” photocartouchi, Savelev’s color photographs from Moscow and his journeys around the world are rich, visually complex, and intellectually challenging. His best work aligns cool formalism with expressive emotional content in a rich mix he describes as “polyphonic.”
Savelev is best known in the west for his color-work but his black and white photography is equally strong. He is a master printer who experiments in many printing techniques. Savelev makes lith prints, silver gelatin prints, pigment inkjet, platinum, and utilizes various color processes including gum bichromate: most of his early color work was done using 35mm slide film, which was later printed as C prints. Savelev lives in Moscow, but travels frequently to teach photography and printing and to work as a photographer in Europe. His most recent exhibition was “Due Mostre, Pierre Borhan / Boris Savelev,” at the Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

2000 - Kunsthaus,  Dresden, Germany
2000 - State Museum of Art, Cottbus, Germany
2001 - “Boris Savelev,” Anahita Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
2002 - Moscow House of Photography, Moscow, Russia
2003 - State Museum, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2004 - Fine Art Gallery, University of Wuppertal, Germany
2005 - “City No Time”, Moscow State Museum of Modern Art, Moscow
2006 – “Due Mostre, Pierre Borhan / Boris Savelev,” Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA
Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Saarland Museum, Saarbruken, Germany
Staatgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany
Tretyakov Gallery, State Museum, Moscow, Russia
Calcografie Nacional, Madrid, Spain
House of Photography, Moscow, Russia

Secret City, Photographs from the USSR, Boris Savelev, Thames and Hudson, London,. 1988
Uber die groben Stadte (Catalog), NGBK, Berlin, 1993
Hotshoe Magazine, “Boris Savelev, A Portfolio by Russia’s Best Photographer” Jan/Feb 1999
Another Russia, Daniela Mrazkova and Vladimir Remes, Facts on File, New York, 1986
Changing Reality, Leah Bendavid-Val, Starwood Publishing, Inc, Washington, DC, 1991
Aperture Magazine, “Photostroika: New Soviet Photography,” Number 116, Fall, 1989
“Elena Darikovich and Boris Savelev: Photography,” State Museum Art Gallery, Kaliningrad, 1994
Say Cheese, (Catalog), Le Comptoir de la Photographie,” Paris, 1988