Lev “Lever” Rukhin was born into a family of artists and scientists in St. Petersburg, Russia. His father, Evgenii Rukhin was one of the leading figures in the Russian Nonconformists movement, significant for its struggle for the freedom of self-expressionism. After Evgenii Rukhin’s mysterious death in a fire widely believed to have been started by the KGB, his family (mother and 3 siblings) fled the country and moved around the world under a ‘stateless’ status until finally settling in a small town in Texas at the age of 9. His mother, Galina Popova, established herself as a jewelry designer and created massive stained glass for churches throughout the state. After studying economics and German literature at UCLA, he circled the world on a motorcycle to compile an illustrated manuscript about the sign of the times of the changing millennia. It was on that voyage that close friends of his father emerged along the road, ushering a katabasis into the former underworld. That was also when photography and context became a point of fascination.
His work zooms out to view what happens before and after a single photo, lending a point of reference to the otherwise bastardization of reality. The ancillary images create an enveloping structure of chronology. The use of non-manipulated contact sheets as a medium then allows for a Muybridgean storyboard, a canvas of sentences upon which we can dismantle and recreate the minutia of everyday life, creating circumstantial studies of our society, subcultural urbanization, and consumerism.