Olga Chernysheva’s “Algunas Canciones Lindas” and Jaan Toomik’s “How the West Was Left”
              Ana Teixeira Pinto
              Ever since the end of the Cold War, an aesthetics of mourning has characterized contemporary art’s understanding of its own critical history. “Burdened with a sadness it cannot dispel,” several generations have been delving into these “realms of defeated utopia,” looking back rather than forward. At Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn, Anders Kreuger curates two simultaneous exhibitions, thematizing Tallinn’s soon-to-be-bulldozed Central Market: one at the gallery and the other inside the old market building, marked for demolition. It is difficult not to feel sentimental about the photographs by Russian artist Olga Chernysheva, one of which, Before Closing (2017) depicts the city’s once-thriving Central Market. Grouped under the equally sentimental title Algunas Canciones Lindas [Some Beautiful Songs] (2002), which the artist borrowed from an old LP featuring Cuban folk songs, the alternating black-and-white and color plates depict a resting cow, two elderly ladies dancing, a young woman holding her pet dog, a manhole, a florist disposing of stale water into a drain, several Soviet-era buildings, a boy holding a piece of see-through fabric with floral motifs, and a young man surrounded by soap bubbles. Though most images were shot recently they do not feel contemporary; Chernysheva’s “eye seems to seek out those persistent …

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