White Space Gallery is delighted to present a new series of photographs by Russian artist Olga Chernysheva. A series of new drawings, a video and a sculptural installation will also be exhibited. Embedded within social reality, Chernyshevaʼs photographs carry nonetheless a lyricism and beauty that tacitly transforms the ordinary scenes and sights of and around Moscow into the extraordinary, and at times, seemingly miraculous.
Uncomplicated methods achieve this, such as the framing and setting of an architectural detail or horizon (her skies are frequently both expansive and expressive), the play of light and shadow, or the unexpected emphasis upon a particular texture or form: all are used to give a slightly off-beat result, and one that becomes loaded with a meaning beyond that which is normally expected of what is ostensibly documentary photography.
Chernyshevaʼs work frequently expresses a social interest in relation to how her country is changing. For instance, in her Moscow Area series she might highlight those things frequently relegated to the edges of society and consciousness, such as a group of elderly people in a home, an old lady entering a church to pray, or the queues of people entering and exiting the Moscow underground metro system. Likewise, monuments from the time of Communism are explored in the Alley of Cosmonauts series in terms of their intended meaning as symbols of power and the advancement of the Communist state, versus their current semi-ruinous condition – in what also seems to be either a muddy and disorganized building site – as remnants of a previous civilization, dotted amongst a new society growing around them.
Whilst one can frequently read disillusionment, loss and isolation in Chernyshevaʼs images, one also sees signs of life and renewal, perseverance and warmth in what they depict. Her films and photographs transcend their documentary function, investigating instead the very fabric of the individuality, stoicism and self-sufficiency of the Russian character, meditating at the same time on the role of the artist in a time of change.
Olga Chernysheva (b. 1962, Moscow) graduated from Moscow Cinema Academy, and from Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. She was selected to represent Russia in the Russian Pavilion of Venice Biennale in 2001. Olga Chernysheva’s work has been included in the following recent international exhibitions: GSK Contemporary at Royal Academy of Arts (film screening); MoMA, New York (solo screening); Lunds Konsthall, Sweden (two-person) (all in 2008); Moscow Biennale for Contemporary Art (2007); Stella Art Foundation, Moscow (solo) (2006 & 2005); Biennale of Sydney; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Hamburger Kunsthalle; Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (all 2006); Moscow Multimedia Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow (solo); Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; “Sites”, Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art 2005 (at the Moscow House of Photography); “Contemporary video from Russia”, video programme at The Photographer’s Gallery, London (all in 2005); “The Happiness Zone”, The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg; Russia (solo), “Berlin – Moscow/Moscow-Berlin”, State Historical Museum, Moscow; “Photobiennale 2004”, Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; “Watch Out!”, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo; “System of Coordinates”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (all 2004); Martin – Gropius- Bau, Berlin, (2003); Kunstlerhaus Vienna, Austria (both 2001).
Her works are in the collections of the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg; Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; MoMA, NY; Duke University Museum, USA; Contemporary Art Museum, Avignon; Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna; Ludwig Forum fur Internationale Kunst, Aachen; Zimmerli Art Museum, USA; FRAC, Bretagne; The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo; Ministry of Culture of Russia Collection, Moscow; Neue Galerie Joanneum, Graz; Moscow House of Photography, Moscow; FNAC-Fonds National DʼArt Contemporain, Paris; NBK, Berlin; Banque NSMD/ABN-AMRO Collection, Paris; Sammlung Hoffmann, Berlin; Foundation ʻNovjiʼ, Moscow; EVN, Austria; Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow; Public Collection of Art Gallery of New South Wales; MART-Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento, Rovereto; UBS-Banque Collection, Paris.