Julia Borissova (St. Petersburg, Russia) is an artist who works with photography, collage, installation and book making, to explore how history and memory are perceived through images. Borissova’s works become a place of actualisation for a wide range of topics, among which the central theme is the questioning of truth and fiction. The book is her natural medium to contemplate real stories and blends documentary elements with imaginary things, trying to capture ephemeral, fragmentary and elusive memories. Her artists’ books include: ‘Red Giselle’ (2017), ‘Libretto’ (2016), ‘Dimitry’ (2016), ‘J.B. About men floating in the air’ (2015), ‘Address’ (2015), ‘DOM (Document. Object. Model)’ (2014), ‘Running to the Edge’ (2014), ‘The Farther Shore’ (2013).
Borissova’s books can be found in the collections of many major institutions, including Tate Modern (London), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the National Library of Spain (Madrid); Centre for Fine Print Research. University of the West of England (Bristol); Reminders Photography Stronghold (Tokyo); Indie Photobook Library (USA); Phoenix Art Museum (USA).
Borissova has frequently exhibited her photography and books around the world in group and solo shows. In 2016 she had a solo show at The Yard Gallery | Exeter School of Art, titled “Beyond the seen”. A recent solo show “Running to the Edge” in the Metenkov’s House Museum in Yekaterinburg, Russia combined five projects by the artist. Each of these projects is linked through a continuous narrative about the nature of memory. This exhibition at Bower Ashton Library is an opportunity to see all of Borissova’s handmade artists’ books published to date and a selection of related images from this project.
Julia Borissova: I am attracted to the appeal of eclectic visual material for my projects – I often work with old photographs, letters and private diaries found in flea markets, and use them alongside my own drawings and photographs. Developing a visual narrative, I transform them into new images, working with various methods of collage through photography and drawing.
My artistic practice reflects my interest in analogue photography as well as collecting, preserving, and presenting archival materials. In designing my books, I try to create a tactile interaction with the subject matter of my research – thus cementing the importance of the material in art against the immateriality of digital imagery. The medium of the artist’s book gives me a large degree of artistic freedom: interweaving together the imaginary, symbolic and real, I can create at this junction a new story as I see it.
The combination of different layouts in my books can be understood as various Mise-en-scènes where multiple reference points – the history of country, private archive, characters from the domains of literature and mythology – intersect. I offer everyone the opportunity to take on the role of spectator so as to establish an intimate link with the images and immerse themselves into their own experience.
I’m keen to invent new designs for my books, ones that do not look like books in the conventional sense, but also as objects to interact with and examine, as installations. It is significant for me that my books are always open to interpretation so that each viewer can bring their own meaning and understanding to the contents.
For a catalogue of book works see: https://issuu.com/juliaborissova/docs/catalog_juliaborissova_books