Olesja Katšanovskaja-Münd. Traces of Existence in a Moment

“In her creative path, Olesja has been constantly exploring intersections between visual arts and interdisciplinary areas. In her first solo-exhibition at Tallinn City Gallery, she explores the effects of the period of stagnation and global crisis on society from a fresh, feminist perspective. The exhibition suggests that perhaps in these moments of danger we have an opportunity to reforge our relationship with our body and the social body we belong to. Or, how is it possible to move on when moving appears impossible?” observes curator Corina L. Apostol.

Through her education and experience in fine art, museum pedagogy, and conservation, Olesja has honed her ability to sense performance art as an artist, grasp its deep layers as a conservator, and research its practical component as an educator. Based on this knowledge and her personal experiences, Olesja imagines society as a living, breathing, desiring body, activated through collective performance. With newly commissioned installations, performances, and sound pieces, the artist asks how we can feel, think, and act in a way that could be potentially transformative on the current consciousness of stagnation and confinement. Olesja also considers bodily traces from a feminist perspective, centering the female body and women’s experiences at the heart of these questions.

While respecting the existing health regulations, the artist encourages the visitor to cross the threshold between the exhibition space and the artwork and leave their own traces on her installation. We consider these interactions that accumulate over the exhibition’s run as sites of encounter with other rhythms and exchanges between bodies that are searching for ways of inhabiting a new period, acting in alliance while acknowledging shared difficulties. 

The exhibition is part of Tallinn Art Hall’s 2020 thematic focus on feminism in the 21st century, highlighting critical issues confronting women today. Maria Kapajeva, Flo Kasearu, Laura Kuusk, Ede Raadik, and Olesja Katšanovskaja-Münd will stage solo exhibitions dealing with complicated narratives that go beyond what is regarded as “women’s issues” such as the politics of care and the body, the impact of technology on everyday life, violence and trauma, labour and poverty, as well as fertility and decay. These topics nonetheless have a very powerful impact on women’s lives. These artists will use the language of contemporary art to infuse a sense of urgency to engage with visual politics that moves between the female body and the spheres of public discourse.