Juri (Yuri) Rupin (1946 – 2008) was at the very beginning of the artistic movement that later became known as the Kharkiv School of Art Photography. One of the Vremya group founders, he moved to Lithuania in late 1980’s, changing his first name from Yuri to Juri, and that move signaled the end of the Vremya group as an art collective. A rebellious soul, an enthusiastic advocate of the group’s methods and approaches, and a Kharkiv photography cronicler  (his novel A Photographer’s Diary from the KGB Archives was published on-line), Rupin based his own work on breaking the Soviet taboos and conventions in art.  The Death of A Cow pictured slaughtering, butchering and carving a carcass, November 7 debunked the hypocrisy of the Great October Revolution Day demonstrations. But his prevailing interest lay in nude photography, one of the worst sins according to the socialist realism canons.  Tatiana Pavlova in her The Vremya Group’s Time essay which is part of this project writes: “Pornography was a criminal offense in the Soviet Union, and the legal definition was so vague that any photographer who took a nude picture could be easily charged as authorities saw fit. This was one of the many ways the government used to keep the people in check by arbitrarily assigning guilt. But prohibiting the photographing of nude models ‘in inappropriate circumstances,’ i.e. outside of a bathhouse, created a legal loophole that was used by Jury Rupin in his impressive Sauna (1972). Bursting with protest energy, Rupin’s pictures of male bathhouse scenes were an act of defiance.”

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