Olga Chagaoutdinova | Storm Ache

May 19 - June 10, 2017


Olga Chagaoutdinova | Storm Ache


Olga Chagaoutdinova was born in the northern Russian town of Khabarovsk, which is about seven hundred kilometres from Vladivostok. She was twenty years old when Mikhail Gorbachev introduced perestroika; the sweeping “restructuring” of her country setting her adrift, as she puts it, leaving her “unable to see what to do, or where to go.”


To that end, she married, had a child, and soon established a rather sophisticated advertising and publishing company in eastern Russia (“I was very poor, I was very rich, the pendulum always swinging to extremes, ninety degrees one way and then ninety degrees the other way”). After earning a degree in Russian language and world literature, in 1993, and a certificate for graduate work in “culturology” (she continues to doubt that there actually is such a word), in 1995, at the Republican Institute for Humanities at the State University, St. Petersburg, she came to Canada in 2000, finding her way first to Vancouver and the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design. There, her work drew the attention of one of her teachers, photographer Roy Arden, whose supportive role in the shaping of her early career she continues happily to acknowledge. She then journeyed to Montreal, where, in 2005, she earned her MFA in photography from Concordia University.


The “Storm-Ache” video is a metaphor for the role of human life in the course of history and the processes that affect people in the modern world. We cannot predict with any accuracy the events in our personal lives, historical and social processes, or any other changes. The wave is a metaphor for events that touch, overwhelm or pass by us. The waves that emerge from behind the women’s back, covering her, push her into the future, into the unknown, into which another wave will inevitably crash. In “Storm-Ache” we observe the process of opposition, here the body fully submits to the invisible and implacable movement of the earth. The shift from opposing the forces of nature (“Storm-Ache”) to fully accepting them and even death are end-points and simultaneously starting-points.