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Julia Borissova. Running To The Edge

FotoDepartament Gallery
presents an exhibition under the program Green, showing young Russian photographers:

Julia Borissova / Saint-Petersburg

Running To The Edge

30 November – 30 December’2012

Held at: FotoDepartament Gallery

In this project I refer to the subject of the first wave of Russian emigration in 1920’s. Combining old photos and flower petals I destroy the original images of people in the photos and make them anonymous.
I reflect on how with the lapse of time some details are erased from our memory and every time we recall something from the past, we construct another image replacing some parts by new ones. I’m trying to do the same with the pictures. This way I’m also trying to achieve the connection between modern dimension and telling a story.

Julia Borissova


 April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

(The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot) 

 In the photo series Running To The Edge, by Julia Borissova, old photos of Russian emigrants are partly covered with flowers and petals. With this simple gesture she created new images. The petals follow mostly the shape of the figure in the picture, but sometimes the intervention is more related to the photo as an object.

The newly constructed images are filled with melancholy and after a while looking at them you start wondering, “Who are these people, what were their names … what has happened to them?”

Flowers are strong vanitas symbols, and we can assume that the persons in the photos have deceased. In one of her photos Julia Borissova even covered the heads of two figures with a red cross of petals, as if she wants to say, “their life is over”. But then suddenly there is this lovely fairylike girl lying in the grass, sleeping under a red blanket … or is it the dress she is wearing? Or this lady covered with flowers as if she carries a huge bouquet … so full of life, so full of death!

In another photo -a family portrait- is a horizontal crease that looks a bit like a crack. Borissova repaired the crack with cross stabbing almost like embroidery … did she want heal the past, does she want to keep its memory alive?

Playing with flowers, petals and leaves could be considered as childlike innocent and lovely … but in this photo series there also is a shady side, a sad side … flowers fade.

Somehow the images of Running To The Edge remind me of moments when I visited the graves of friends. Walking in the cemetery, past all those tombstones with their withered flowers … endless rows of unknown people … who were they, what did they do in life, are they still being remembered?

Right now, at the moment I write these lines, my mother is very ill and I know she will die soon. Who will remember her and for how long?

Is this not why we make art … to be remembered? I would not say it is the only reason of course, but in an existential sense, don’t we often make pictures to remember and to be remembered?

Luuk Wilmering, November 2012

About artist:

Julia Borissova

Julia Borissova was born in Tallinn, Estonia. Live and work in St.Petersburg, Russia.


In 2009-2010 studied at the St.Petersburg Academy of Photographic skills. Teachers – A. Petrosyan, A. Maltsev, A. Fedotova.

Participated in a Master class of: S. Maximishin (Russia), 2010; Nordic Photography Experience – Jan Grarup (Denmark, agency NOOR) class, 2011; Morten Andersen (Norway) class, 2011, 2012; Luuk Wilmering (Dutch) class, 2012.

“Photography at the limit” program, 2011-2012, “The practice and theory Contemporaneous pictures: the body as object of research and interpretation”, 2012-2013, Foundation of Informational and Cultural projects “FotoDepartament”. Russia, St.Petersburg.

Awards and Exhibitions:

2010 –  “PEOPLE in the City” personal exibition (Gallery “Meeting on the Arbat”, Moscow);

2010 – “IMPULS”  personal exibition (Gallery “Black&White”, St.Petersburg);

2011 – Еxhibition of photojournalism them. Efremov (Tobolsk and Tyumen, Russia);

2011 – Exhibition of finalists at the III International Festival of Photography PHOTOVISA;

2011 – “KICKBOXING”  personal exibition (Gallery “Black&White”, St.Petersburg);

2011 – Collective exhibition “Age of visible features” at a photo of the Karl Bulla (St. Petersburg, Russia);

2012 – The Second Photobiennale of the Modern Photography. The Russian Museum, Marble Palace. (St. Petersburg, Russia);

2012 – “EQUILIBRIUM”  personal exibition (Gallery “Black&White”, St.Petersburg);

2012 – Еxhibition of photojournalism them. Efremov (Tobolsk and Tyumen, Russia).

3rd place in the competition photography them. Efremov – federal report (2012)
Second place at the III International photo contest Karl Bulla “ERA visible features” nominated “Everyday Life” (November 15, 2011);
First place in the reader’s contest “City”, the magazine “FOTO & VIDEO”, (2011, Moscow, Russia);
Third place in the reader’s contest “Situation”, the magazine “FOTO & VIDEO”, № 2 (2011, Moscow, Russia);
Competition finalist photojournalism them. Efremov (2011);
Member of the International Photography Festival PHOTOVISA (2011), the competition program “The Road”.


Media partners: The Village / Look At Me / Be-in /

Press contacts:
by phone +7 (901) 301-7993
by e-mail:

All works shown during exhibitions, can be purchased in the FotoDepartament Gallery / / +7-901-301-7994

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