20.jpg 04.09.2017 - 24.10.2017

Olga Chernysheva Attunements

First solo show of Olga Chernysheva at Galerie Iragui 

Olga Chernysheva
4.09. - 24.10.2017

How does the impulse to draw something begin? This question, akin to asking what makes an artist an artist, is posed by the British art historian John Berger in his book of musings on drawing and his attitude to reality, “Bento’s Sketchbook”, and then he goes on to provide an astute answer. According to Berger, drawing is a form of investigation where one can feel one’s way. The first impulse to draw usually comes from a human need to carry out a search, to place points on a paper, to find a place for things and for oneself. . Drawing entered Olga Chernysheva’s artistic practice in the 1980s when she was studying to become an animation artist at VGIK (the All-Russian State University of Cinematography), and then, after a break, she returned to it, raising it to what is now an indisputable place alongside the photography, video and painting that brought the artist international renown in the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s. Freed of its traditional ancillary role as a sketch for a future work, the drawing in Chernysheva’s work didn’t just acquire an expressive independence, it also passed over its borders and formed an entire artistic approach in itself as a resource that forces one, according to the artist, “to create the entire world anew […] from familiar items that, as a rule, already exist,” echoing Berger’s definition. Art, for Olga Chernysheva, is to a large extent a thought process in which the eye participates on a par with the hand, and an ability to conceive in images that are capable of finding their embodiment in any material-spatial form. Thus, the fact that the artist programmatically refuses to draw dividing lines in her work between different media and often combines them within the frameworks of separate projects and exhibitions – and this exhibition at Galerie Iragui serves as confirmation of this – appears to be no coincidence.

Olga Chernysheva’s work is born out of an attentive gaze that doesn’t neglect the minor or insignificant and notices similarities, however grotesque they might seem to be, as in the renowned photo-series “Waiting For a Miracle” (2000), where women’s knitted hats look like exotic cactuses. The title “Attunements”, which brings together the drawings and photographic prints presented in the gallery, references a special optics for the gaze that allows us to notice a shriveled oyster on a homeless person’s stall (from the series “Objects. Overcoat”, 2017), to consider the landscape that opens up to us from the cabin of a man on duty at a metro station (from the series “Landscape that opens up from the window of a man on duty at a station”, 2017) and to make out faces and patterns in the dirty markings on a tiled floor left by the footwear of passengers on the metro (“Attunements”, 2013). These works (the artist calls her drawings “environmental”) tune the viewer in, but they also exist as a result of special settings of the eye, which is at once sensitive to the most everyday reality and to formal games that are hidden within its depths. “In the world there are repetitions, and I’m interested in similarities,” explains Chernysheva. 

Built on similarities, the pictures presented reproduce the mechanisms in the working of memory. We note and remember certain details which build up into a seemingly whole image, but remembering the expression of a person’s eyes that defines their image for us, we can’t remember the shape of that person’s nose. The memory establishes special relations between the fragment and the whole, like those between reality and abstraction. The remembered image that is conveyed by Chernysheva’s drawings is founded on the reality of the abstraction, the sediment and remainder of what is seen that emphasizes the main thing (the fragment), preserving the link with the general (the whole) that is blown in on a draft of air. The tension that is inherent in the drawing between the concrete form and the abstract image that is conveyed by the strokes (the photographic prints presented at the exhibition are in many ways close to drawings), reflect the struggle which, according to the artist’s own admission, the abstract is waging in her works with the “human” or “personal.” In Chernysheva’s works, the “human” not only wins, dragging the fur coat, hat and other items belonging to a person along after it, it also becomes stronger and more expressive through the inclusion of abstraction within it – thus, the absurd sphere on the head of a person covered in advertising billboards, ready to disappear like an inflatable ball into the sky and fly off in a gust of wind like a dandelion, overcoming the force of gravity of its shadow (“Service”, 2017), eloquently demonstrates the inexorable form of life, becoming a part of post-Soviet reality. At the center of the majority of the artist’s works there is a lonely character whose dark contour stands out from the mass of people or the surrounding landscape; it finds itself alone with itself and vulnerable in its intimacy which has been left ajar. But here an artist comes to his aid because, as has already been noted repeatedly in texts on Chernysheva, her works possess an undoubted sympathy for her characters, and her gaze is this very same “humanity.” 

In this sense, Olga Chernysheva’s drawing resonates incredibly precisely with the essence of her art and the tonality of her work in a way that the works of few other modern artists can. The rough hatching left by the charcoal on the paper, showing through and looking to disappear, filling the emptiness of the sheet with its fragile presence – this is whispered conversation and confiding intimacy, free of any aesthetic gloating, loud self-affirmation and the haughty knowledge of an outside observer. In other words, this is a very human art that invokes restraint (the signatures stuck over the top of the pictures, which, in the artist’s conception, should “extinguish their uniqueness, bring them down a peg,” play their role here). This is a dedication to the insignificant, to the barely discernible, to the flickering and vague that are blurted out in story about something that is important. In such stories, as John Berger notes, the mystery is not worked out, but passed on, the body of an individual has the same relationship to a community of people, and characters don’t fulfill a role, they fight for survival, and win. 

Elena Yaichnikova


15.12.2016 - 11.01.2017

Maria Arendt, Catherine Charreyre Ailleurs, nulle part

Artists not necessarily give just a comment on ongoing social and political changes or situations, how important all that may be or not. That is daily business for politicians, analysts, journalists, commentators, but these comments surround us day for day more and more make deaden our true human feelings. In away on the opposite is standing the artist being touched by what is going on in the world and reflecting it in his or her work. 
Art does not need catchy headlines, loud colors, vulgar depiction of misery to make us think, to touch us and to understand. Artistic means make us see and understand not only by our eyes, but with our hearts and souls.
This is what I was thinking when I first time got acquainted with the works of Catherine and Maria on the topic of migrants I was thinking exactly this and their work, as different these two artists are as perfectly these two group of works work together, not only in formal ways but because of their way to approach the topic of migration. 
Maria Arendt´s embroidered maps could be populated, they make the impression that something would happen now and the maps that normally would be expected to be from paper and have no personages find their counterpart in the work of Catherine Charreyre whose fabric shirts make the spectator feel the fragility of human being and especially the one who had to leave behind everything.
The whole exhibition is held in white, a color that stands for a lot and for different. It stands for innocence as it stands for immortality, respectively life and it also can stand for grief and so white is very interesting color to work on the topic the artists have chosen. 
With this exhibition we want to create a space without a point to focus, there should not be any fix-place and no direction, like the little people drawn onto glass plates. 
Gallery Iragui hosting this exhibition makes sense - I know the gallery as the one and only gallery specialized on graphic art in Russia, the for sure most international in Moscow, delicate and thoughtful, characteristics that give the artists of this exhibition the best possible environment to present their project. 

Simon Mraz

assistant to curator: Maria Pavlova

10.11.2016 - 10.12.2016

Olga Bozhko A different culture


Olga Bozhko's new project A different culture is a total installation created from a series of easel paintings, based on the mixture and interpenetration of two visual traditions – of  Central Asia and Western Europe. The unifying element here is carton door mats that will not allow to break the museum cleanliness of the gallery as a product of western democracy. Tracing the external manifestations of the labor migration process in post-Soviet countries, the artist by all means supports the popular post-colonial discourse but remains true to her own ascetical ban on direct (and thus so uninteresting) political statements. She also manages to move away from Orientalism, the main danger of politicized art practices within the framework of this rather difficult subject – and she does it expertly, literally at the last moment, being on the edge. In her works, Olga definitely shows how the carriers and actors of bright authentic visual environment have to adapt when they find themselves in a civilizationally different design spaces and objects, and what kind of chimeras are born out of these unions. The artist creates the museum works, appealing to the history of art and Russian avant-garde in her “Skullcap” and to boisterous design of metropolitan boulevards and squares in “Hydra”, and to patriotic poster surge in “Go, Russia!”, and to the Soviet visuality of landscape sculptures in “A girl with a shovel”. The video from “Cheburek forever” literally becomes the anthem of the exhibition, representing the different culture as the psychoanalytic Different dissolved in the environment, but this does not make it less frightening, which only indicates the psychological trauma of the those who are frightened. The saddest work of the exhibition is apocalyptic “Island”, a material that would look appropriate in the construction market or in the anthropological museum of the future.


download the invitation card
03.10.2016 - 14.10.2015

Nikita Alexeev Fishing and Bubbles Part I Philosophical Fishing

I spent several months in Montenegro (its national motto is “let the impossible be”), deep in the interior, squeezed between the mountains and the narrow Kotor Bay. Every day, giant cruise liners would arrive, and the tiny town of Kotor would fill up with thousands of tourists. Then these oceanic giants would sound out their deafening horns and carry the visitors off to distant realms. Kotor would be left deserted. 

I sat on the shore, gazing at the liners, at the sea, and thinking: according to the laws of probability, among the hordes arriving on The Euro Dam or The Princess of the Oceans, there were bound to be some who in terms of their intellectual abilities were on a par with Aristotle, Hegel and Wittgenstein. But I, sitting on the shore, didn't meet them, didn't get to know their thoughts; they boarded their vessels and, like the passengers of the “philosophers' ship”*, disappeared into the distance. I remained sitting on the shore. 

All I could do was try and fish out from the sea those thinkers whose illuminations I was at least to some extent familiar with. But what should you use to catch Aristotle, especially there, where they believe in the possibility of the impossible? Brick, maybe? Which bait is most likely to catch Husserl's attention? Is it not a piece of cheese?

Nikita Alexeev

06.09.2016 - 01.10.2016

Carlos Noronha Feio as you do on earth...

Galerie Iragui and narrative projects, London are pleased to announce first solo exhibition in Moscow by Carlos Noronha Feio (born 1981, Lisbon, lives and works in London). Noronha Feio has a diverse practice that includes actions, performance, video, drawing, painting, photography, rug works and multi media installation. He consumes, manipulates, juxtaposes and performs or re-sites media as research into cultural, local and global identity.