October 29, 2017 - Secession - R. H. Quaytman: An Evening. Chapter 32 / Olga Chernysheva: Chandeliers in the Forest
October 29, 2017


R. H. Quaytman, An Evening. Chapter 32. Photo: R. H. Quaytman.

R. H. Quaytman: An Evening. Chapter 32
Olga Chernysheva: Chandeliers in the Forest
November 17, 2017–January 21, 2018

Artist talk: November 16, 6–7pm, R. H. Quaytman in conversation with Joseph Koerner
Opening: November 16, 7–10pm

Friedrichstraße 12
1010 Vienna
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 2–6pm

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R. H. Quaytman
An Evening. Chapter 32

R. H. Quaytman creates paintings that are both conceptually rigorous and poetically alive, revolving as they do around painting’s contested present context. The work and methodology seem to both safeguard and interrogate the medium’s symbolic historical space as well as its capacity for absolute presence.

At the Secession R. H. Quaytman will present a new body of work she refers to as An Evening. Chapter 32. Its point of departure is the painting The Persian Women by the Flemish artist Otto van Veen (1556–1629) from the collection of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. Quaytman helped to fund the restoration of this and its partner van Veen painting The Amazons and the Scythians. The Persian Women, which will be part of the exhibition, illustrates an anecdote in Plutarch’s Moralia: soldiers of the Persian army encounter their wives, mothers, and daughters as they try to retreat from battle behind the city’s walls. Approaching them, the women expose their genitals, shouting, “Whither are you rushing so fast, you biggest cowards in the whole world? Surely you cannot, in your flight, slink in here whence you came forth.” Mortified by their words, the men turn back to the battle and vanquish the enemy.

The hallmark of Quaytman’s approach is that her work does not merely present discoveries: the process of discovery itself becomes part of the compositional structure of the painting, showing that indeed we cannot go back to where we came from.

R. H. Quaytman lives and works in New York City.

Olga Chernysheva
Chandeliers in the Forest

Olga Chernysheva is known as a sensitive and perceptive observer and chronicler of the daily lives of people in Russia. In a variety of media such as concise drawings, paintings, photographs and videos she turns the transformation of economic and psychological realities of life into “poetic circumstances”. 

For the exhibition Chandeliers in the Forest in Secession’s Gallery and Graphic Cabinet Chernysheva has made a selection of new and existing works from several of her largely ongoing series that focus on these poetic transformations of the everyday. In her latest drawings and paintings she explores the specific qualities of different situations such as standing on an escalator, waiting in the line, or awkwardly wading through water and their relations to different modes of being. Also on view are a number of film works including the video Chekhov Museum (2017), which was shot in the Moscow house where the author lived. Like the Russian realist writer, Chernysheva scrutinizes elements of ordinary actions. They are not predefined but random in relation to logic and they give birth to a metaphorical language. Chernysheva’s interests are equally anchored in nineteenth century Russian realist painting as well as Soviet avant-garde film, especially the works of Alexander Dovzhenko and Sergei Eisenstein. Like in numerous earlier works, the real subject of the film Chekhov Museum is the supervisory personnel and how they identify with their work.

The exhibition title Chandeliers in the Forest is borrowed from a series of photographs whose artistic approach is characteristic for Chernysheva’s oeuvre in general. The photos reflect on the inventiveness and creativity of people struggling to make a living; in this case a worker who gets the product of his labor, the chandeliers, instead of a salary and tries to sell them along tourist roads, hanging them in trees as if they were on display in a shop window. In this equally pragmatic and poetic approach, the artist uncovers beauty. “Analyzing reality, you can find out how a new aesthetic is born in the place where you do not expect it. Many lovers of modern art would believe (I do) that the one who originally hung out the chandeliers is a modern artist.” (Olga Chernysheva)

Olga Chernysheva, born in 1962 in Moscow, lives and works in Moscow.

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An Evening. Chapter 32
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Chandeliers in the Forest
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