B&WConceptEuropeJ. B. about men floating in the air by Julia Borissova

The idea of creating this book was born after reading the poem by Joseph Brodsky "Lithuanian Nocturne" and this particular passage acted as a source of inspiration

The idea of creating this book was born after reading the poem by Joseph Brodsky “Lithuanian Nocturne” and this particular passage acted as a source of inspiration:

…over the Baltic wave, 
I buzz just like that monoplane,
like some Darius and Girenas, 
though not as vulnerable.

Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas were two American pilots of Lithuanian origin who attempted to achieve a flight endurance record in 1933. They flew from New York to Kaunas in a small airplane, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, but the plane crashed by the Polish city Myślibórz, and both pilots died just short of their destination. The causes of this accident are still unknown.

Although the text became a starting point for my reflections, I didn’t want my images to simply illustrate it, therefore I invented a parallel world which correlates indirectly with the poem.

My story is about any person’s dream to break free of the vicious circle of all kinds of constraints (“it’s merely one’s mortality expanding its radius at the expense of borders”) and to fly away to a distant unknown in search of unlimited freedom, to find a true motherland and real home. It is also a story about a personal attempt to find a way to oneself through time and space, to break the invisible boundary between himself and his mirror twin, the mortal Castor and immortal Pollux, which is doomed to failure.

To begin with I made a series of mockumentary photographs to achieve an effect of stopping time. I then decided that it was necessary to increase the gap between the documentary and imaginary world, so I added some collages and drawings. As a result, I was made the book in a Leporello format, which allows the viewer to choose how to browse the images and find their own ending to this narrative.

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

About Julia Borissova

Julia Borissova is an Estonia-born, St Petersburg-based 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: ‘Lullaby for a Bride’ (2017), ‘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 exhibition “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. All of Borissova’s handmade artists’ books published to date and a selection of related images from this project were exhibited at Bower Ashton Library, Bristol in July – August 2017. [Official Website]

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

J. B. about men floating in the air | Julia Borissova

The second edition of 300 signed and numbered copies is available

Self published art book, printed 2017

100 x 150 mm / Hardcover, Leporello binding, Handmade / 28 pages

First Edition of 75 copies, 2015 – Sold Out

More info



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