The video Russian Museum takes place in the museum of the same name in St Petersburg. As the camera trails around the museum, the reflections on the protective glazing of each of the nineteenth-century Russian paintings causes the visitors’ images and movements to be momentarily caught and superimposed over the static images of the classical portrait paintings beneath. As with her photographic series On Duty 2007 (Tate P13157), Chernysheva creates what critic and curator Viktor Misiano has described as a rigorous ‘geometry of gazes’ (Misiano 2010, p.231) using the reflections to create a series of overlapping images. Further animating these inanimate paintings is a soundtrack of meditational music. Frequently in Chernysheva’s work, art and life, past and present, become literally interlinked. Having found inspiration in the films of Soviet filmmakers Segej M. Eisenstein, Alexander Dovzhenko and Dziga Vertov and their various conceptions of montage, Chernysheva has applied these methods in a direct and simple way to a situation from everyday life.
Originally trained as an animator, Chernysheva uses film and photography to deal with humble, everyday subjects. Her background in animation has resulted in an approach that treats all images, whether static or moving, as ‘animated’ in some way. These two categories frequently blur within her work, resulting in photographs that look like film stills, and films that unfold so slowly as to seem photographic rather than filmic.
Boris Groys, Olga Chernysheva: Works 2000–2008, exhibition catalogue, Gallery Volker Diehl, Berlin and Diehl + Gallery One, Moscow 2009.
Viktor Misiano, ‘Motion Studies’, in Artforum, March 2010, vol.48, no.7, pp.226–31.