Lot 810
  • 810

Igor Moukhin

6,000 - 8,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Igor Moukhin
  • Two works from Young People in the Big City series
  • silver print
Silver prints, one printed 1987. One signed, titled, numbered 4/25 and dated 1987 on the reverse, one signed, titled, and dated 1986 on the reverse. These works are from an edition of 25.


La Russie d'Igor Moukhin: photographies de 1987 a 2011, Festival RussenKo, Ville du Kremlin-Bicêtre, 2013, illustrated (another edition exhibited)


Leah Bendavid-Val, Changing Reality: Recent Soviet Photography, Washington, D.C., 1991, ill. on cover, pp. 89, 91

Diane Neumaier (ed.), Beyond Memory: Soviet Nonconformist Photography and Photo-related Works of Art, New Brunswick, NJ, 2004, ill. p. XVI

Catalogue Note

Igor Mukhin got his first camera in 1977 as a present. Inspired by East German publications on rock music, Mukhin decided to document the rock movement in his native Moscow. From the 1980s the youth movements enthused by the Western popular culture were allowed to develop in Russia for the first time, marked by the International Festival of Youth and Students in 1985. So by the mid-80s Mukhin started on his first project dedicated to the Soviet youth.

The artist got involved with the underground rock movements through friends. Although no longer outlawed, this westward-looking music was still being made and disseminated through apartment block basements, underground gigs and amateur home-made recordings. The system grew into a self-sufficient industry and bands began to tour cities of the USSR. Rock-stars such as the revered late Vladimir Vysotsky and the younger Viktor Tsoy became cult figures, echoing the celebrity culture on the other side of the Wall.  Both the practitioners and fans naturally developed a particular look- the so called Soviet punk-rock of the 80s, which is captured in Mukhin’s photographs. His subjects stood out from the masses due to their individual style that signified their membership of the underground youth culture.

The present lot is from a series entitled Young People in the Big City, executed between 1985 and 1989. The illustrated work depicts a close-up portrait of a beautiful girl with perfect features and dishevelled hair staring nervously into the camera. Her innocence is contrasted with the sinister smile of a young man standing behind her. The second work in the lot depicts a young punk straining to look behind shoulder in an uncomfortable pose at a street corner.  Both photographs evoke the anxieties and sensitivities of youngsters, not in mainstream, apprehensive of the changes ahead.

An earlier edition of the photograph of a young punk is in the Dodge Collection at the Zimmerli Art Museum, New Jersey.