To see the alternative image, one needs to go farther, through the curtain of sensory perception...

Leon Bugaev (Leo Bugaev) is an artist, director. Develops such directions as: The object portrait* and The kinetic scene*.

In 2007 relying on intuition and imagination, he plunges into a world of experimentation. Working with light, shadow and movement in a shot, the author creates his first photograph “Chess” and at the start of Summer in that same year produces and unusual “The Object Portrait”. These works very much predetermined the artist’s future direction.


Rara Avis Magazine


He constructs his reality from a paradoxical combination of objects, and black-and-white color treatment lends it the vividness of a dream. A character in a formal suit grins impishly out of the picture; in place of his face is the carcass of a turkey, but the observer instinctively makes out human features in the shape. In his works, Bugaev often uses images of objects frozen in midair. This approach automatically prepares onlookers to accept irrational information, and simultaneously establishes action far beyond the limits of the illustration. A dark, blurred figure moves sharply, while its head hangs in the foreground and stares at the viewer. The static perspective on the motion is intriguing. The onlooker himself begins to fill in the details of the subject, the quiescent episode the photograph suggests.



19 December 2019

Unconventional portraiture. Like the author. And in fact don’t try to call photographer Leo Bugaev or, least of all, portraitist: the young Russian is a multimedia artist to whom any definition is tight. But we talk about portraits here but from an oblique point of view that, before falling into the arms of a definition, needs a deeper look. If in traditional portraiture there are many authors who agree on the point that the true subject is the author himself and not the person in front of the lens, Leo Bugaev pushes the terms of the debate further, in the conceptual space where the portrait meets functional symbolism to a formal design, style and content. In fact, reversing the principle according to which the centrality of the portrait must be occupied by the «body» or parts of it (face, eyes, etc.), in Bugaev's photographs it is hidden in a secondary plane and whose physical structure is a scaffolding in which the «object» is significant with respect to the subject. More than portraits we should talk about allegorical still life in which a globe becomes a metaphysical metaphor, while in others the symbols of consumption used for images offer us a clearer interpretation. And more precise, in which the metaphor turns towards social criticism. In this regard, look at the images in which a television has taken the place of the head of a man or, worse, the couple guarding another empty television set, however, like the fixity of their posture and looks. We are, Bugaev seems to say, what we are and what we are does not always coincide with what we believe to be. The objects represent us, they talk about us and for us, they govern us without offering any resistance. They are us. And without us we are nobody. Unpresentable. And in fact the expressive «summa» resides in the portrait of the woman's shoulders: without objects, placed on a plane, it’s devoid of any subjectivity, naked, useless. The objects, as we have seen, predominate and are emblematic of photography in which the human figure no longer exists, is absent while objects remain, as subjects of a «trans human» expressiveness. Their focal staticity prevails over the movement of figures that in some images seem like crazy, prey of a frenetic movement, victims of an indomitable «blur»: fixed points while everything around is changeable and predisposed to kinetic vertigo, uncontrollable as irrational. And to us, as we look at Leo Bugaev's photographs, it raises the awareness of drowning in a time when time has already passed. Unseizably.

Giuseppe Cicozzetti, Italian Art Critic


* The object portrait, which is a scene where the character's face is shielded by an object, for example, a globe, a pair of boots, a briefcase, or a balloon. The object is the central part of the image and may serve as an illustration of “difsymbols” *.

* Difsymbols (different symbols) are dynamic symbols having no exact identification – like, for example, in an allegorical still life where a globe typically symbolizes the Earth or starry skies. The idea of the symbol in the object portrait rests on the fantasy motion, therefore dyfsymbols are multifaceted and unrestricted, and the combinations of generated meanings have no boundaries - a unit (man) is multiplied by infinity (difsymbols).

* The kinetic scene is an image with a moving object (objects). As a rule, motion in the frame creates dynamics and blurs forms - the details of the object are beyond clear definition. Objects may be present in the scene but, unlike the main object, they are still and well detailed. This creates the contrast between space (fixed objects) and time (objects in motion).

Leon Bugaev



2010 - 1 Biennale of Contemporary Art - Rostov

Backlight 2011 - Tampere, Finland


2014 Project Berlin Exhibition

Artyści dla Olinka 2017 - Lodz, Poland

© Leon Bugaev / 2008-2018 All rights reserved