Critics’ Picks

Olga Chernysheva, untitled, 2011, barite analog print, 11 x 17''. From the series “Algunas Canciones Lindas” (Some Beautiful Songs), 1996–2014.


Olga Chernysheva

Temnikova & Kasela Gallery
Lastekodu 1
August 24–October 28

Russian photographer Olga Chernysheva’s latest exhibition consists of never-before-shown works spanning from 1996 to 2014. Also on view is the large-scale pigment print Before Closing, 2017, which was captured at Tallinn’s Central Market, a leftover relic from the Soviet era replete with mostly Russian vendors, allowing visitors to step back in time. Here, we see one of the shopkeepers, minus her head, unceremoniously dumping water from a bucket of flowers into a drain. Chernysheva, a Muscovite, was brought up in that world, and her eye seems to seek out those persistent remnants of the twentieth century that have become encoded with a sort of timelessness. In this sense, she is like a poet who shows us something unexpected by zeroing in on the mundane. There’s a skating ground near Red Square, wrapped in the pale non-light of winter (untitled, 2009); beyond its environs, the real subject is a certain bluishness that glows. You can almost hear the wind howling.

This Baudelairean, painter-of-modern-life stance persists when the artist turns to interiors. Two untitled black-and-white barite analog prints ostensibly portray the same living room; despite the date of each, 2011, the room’s décor appears to be a relic of Eastern Europe or Russia in the 1980s. The first image is simply the room itself, while the second pulls back, revealing an interior frame around the space, as if it were either a mirror reflection of the area or else a stage set.

Nearly all of these works are from a series called “Algunas Canciones Lindas” (Some Beautiful Songs), which itself sounds like it could be the title of a volume of poetry. Chernysheva’s songs are beautiful for reveling in the matter of their endurance.