Olga Chernysheva

Citizens, 2007 – 2010
work on paper
Dimensions vary


work on paper

In Olga Chernysheva’s series of watercolours everyday life figures and fragments seem to be extracted from the surrounding reality. The protagonists of these works, busy with their daily routines – road sweepers, street sellers, stall keepers, passers by – had all been participants and witnesses of the transformation of the Russian society in the 2000s, when the intense chaos of the first decade of capitalism gave way to monotonous stability.
The figures of people, alone and sometimes in pairs, are placed against white background, as if extracted from the regular Soviet way of life. Perhaps this white void anticipates the Citizens series tendency towards endless replication of a familiar mode of existence. Lonesome characters of the lyrical watercolours are desperately trying to fit in with the new society, or have already stopped trying, forming the fabric of post-Soviet reality. Chernysheva takes a neutral close-up at the lives of the characters, not dictating compassion or passing any judgement about their way of thinking to the viewer.