Prekhner Mikhail

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ABOUT

Mikhail Prekhner (1911-1941) was born in Warsaw, at the age of 14 he came to Moscow, and at 17 he decided to make photography his profession. In 1930, he began working at «Soyuzphoto». During the 1930s, he collaborated with Izogiz (the publisher specially thanked him for work on the First Horse) album and the USSR at Construction site magazine, where his colleagues were Alexander Rodchenko, Arkady Shaikhet, Boris Ignatovich and others. For a short period of his work, he was published in seventeen issues, including «The Red Navy», «Buryat-Mongolia», «Happy Old Age», «Far East», «Small Cities», «Steel».

In the 1930s, Mikhail Prekhner shot such series as Moscow, Beach, Cars, Military Parade on Red Square, Nursery Garden, and the 8th Extraordinary Congress of Councils of 1936.

«Prehner solved the problem — to take all the best from everyone: from Eremin — prettiness, general plan, lyrics, from Shaikhet — dry subjects, from me — points and camera angles. Obvious success was obtained …«, Rodchenko noted.

Just look at the picture «Leap». Against the sky — a nude figure of a boy who was preparing to jump. The back is straightened, arms are raised and laid back slightly, like wings. The movement has not yet begun, but the whole body is already tense, assembled in an energetic effort. No details — except for the inclined board of narrow bridges on which the child stands. Prehner removed it from below and slightly behind. As a result, the boy, his arms outstretched, seems to soar in the sky. But in Prehner’s photograph, a person does not look like a «cog» of a social machine, but as a self- valuable creature, living out of flesh and blood. And this is the difference between Prehner and the modernists of the 20-30s.

Since 1933, the photographer has participated in all exhibitions of Soviet photography abroad. Since that time, he has exhibited at dozens of international shows in Europe and America. In 1938, at the international exhibition in Antwerp, he received the Great Silver Medal for his work.

Mikhail Prekhner’s life ended very early, at the very beginning of the war — during a business trip to Tallinn, he died at the age of 30.

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2018
Mikhail Prekhner. Photo avant-garde of the 1930s, MAMM, Moscow
L’envol, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France

2017
“People’s Revolution”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow
“Masters of Soviet Photojournalism”, PhotoVisa, Krasnodar
The USSR is building socialism. Masterpieces of the Soviet photobook of the 1930s, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

2015
“PROzavod”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow
“Soviet Photo”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

2013
“Mikhail Prekhner. Retrospective”, MAMM, Moscow
“Invitation to dinner. Cookbook of the Russian Museum”, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

2012
“We are. The best photographs of the XX century”, The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow

2003
“Red Square. XX Century”, Russian House of Culture and Science, Berlin