Duncan Miller Gallery

Mr. Sokolenko is no stranger to science: he is a microbiologist. Reared in a family of engineers, he grew up in Obninsk, a town in central Russia and a major hub for nuclear research during the Soviet era. After moving to St. Petersburg and earning a degree in biology, he took a job at the State Photography Center, a government-supported organization that helps the city’s numerous museums preserve their aging photography collections. Two years ago he organized a semi-educational, semi-artistic show of photographs featuring harmful microbes.

By coincidence, Mr. Sokolenko’s workplace is on the same street as the Vladimir Nabokov Museum, in the house where Nabokov lived until being forced into exile by the Bolshevik Revolution. Mr. Sokolenko first became hooked on Nabokov when he read “The Defense,” a novel about a chess player gradually driven insane by his obsession with the game. Last October he began volunteering at the museum, where he learned about Nabokov’s research at Harvard.

“Suddenly, I saw a completely different Nabokov, in the context of his entomological activities,” he said. “At some point I came to understand that Nabokov the writer had emerged under the influence of Nabokov the biologist.”

The New York Times, July 26, 2006


Choosing to explore core surfaces, shapes and materials, Dmitry Sokolenko describes his work as a "protest against hyperrealism in today's art." Trained as a microbiologist, much of Sokolenko's work philosophy and subject matter is influenced by Russian literary figure Vladimir Nabokov and his fascination with science and butterflies. Sokolenko uses a microscope with a Leica camera, and does no image manipulation.




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