Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to announce the New York premiere of The 26th Element, a new series by St. Petersburg photographer Evgeny Mokhorev (b. 1967). The opening reception will be held on February 14th, 6‐8pm.
Mokhorev is a unique phenomenon in Russian art. He was the first photographer who opened a door to the fragile and troubled world of children. Since the late 1980s, he has passionately explored this world—the marginal territories of adolescence, the revelations of lost childhood and the turning points of magical transformations into adulthood. Mokhorev’s first solo exhibition outside of his homeland was in Paris in 1992, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was held within the framework of Mois de la Photo à Paris Photography Festival where he became a sensation, one of the key photographers to emerge from the former Soviet Union. His series Games Children Play about orphans and street kids of St. Petersburg attracted tremendous attention. In the US, it was shown in Changing Reality at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in 1991; at the MIT Museum in Russian Photographers: Renewal and Metamorphosis from the Late Soviet Era to the 1990s, Cambridge, MA, and in Russia: Chronicles of Change at the Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL, both in 1996.
The 26th Element series marks a new direction from Mokhorev’s previous work, which was both psychological and social in approach. Here the artistic intent appears more metaphysical. The 26th element in the Menedeleev’s periodic table stands for ferrum. The entire series was shot at the abandoned Kronstadt forts (a small island near St. Petersburg). The 26th Element embodies a Hegelian “unity and struggle of opposites”: massive iron constructions versus fragile young bodies, the external social environment vs. the inner world of teenagers, matter vs. spirit. The dramatic play of two opposing essences is enhanced by powerful constructivist‐ like compositions and the geometry of light and shadows.
Mokhorev’s recognized style became a kind of a school, which continues to attract many photographers and followers. He is a member of the Union of Photo Artists since 1992 and of the Russian Union of Artists since 1997. In 1993 Mokhorev won a “Discovery of the Year” prize at the First All‐Russian Photography Festival. In both 1994 and 1998 he received a prestigious State Stipend for talented artists. Among other collections Mokhorev’s photographs are part of The Brooklyn Museum of Art, NYC; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; The Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; The Moscow House of Photography, Moscow, Russia; and The Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL.