Collection of essays about artistic statements in Belarusian contemporary art

Anna Chkolnikova:
installation “High Hills”,

ZBOR #35

Installation: concrete tile

Created as part of the exhibition “Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today”, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania

Anna Chkolnikova:installation “High Hills”,2010

Installation “High Hills”, Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2010


Anna Chkolnikova archives intangible: feelings, emotions, moods, feelings, memories. The artist herself is fascinated by the mysterious moment of transition from one mental state to another when thoughts are disconnected, and perception depends only on sensitive impressions. Klaus Shtek, an artist, known for his straightforward poster graphics, once said: “The art is a betrayal of secrets.” Chkolnikova returns this moment of mystery into the experience of art. She immerses her sane viewer in an unexpected situation, so that at least for a few seconds, as the artist says, “the everlasting tape of judgment in his head, with which we start our art works assessment, would turn off”. And from that resulted moment of emptiness she draws the viewer into her work. He senses something soft and amorphous underfoot, but cannot see it in the darkness of space, and at the same time he smells the odour of roses (installation The Queen, 2011, Arsenal, Białystok). Or he sees a series of concrete tiles, which, however, are not smooth, but rough, and getting to it, the viewer starts to sway (installation High Hills, 2010, CAC, Vilnius).

In her works, Anna Chkolnikova always considers the situation and the features of the space. Among the wall with cracked paint and yellowed stucco on the ceiling in the Berlin TÄT gallery the artist made a quiet, melancholic installation The Dear (2007), dedicated to her mother. The semi-circular arch of the passage in the gallery Chkolnikova used to install the wall of the same size that would repeat arch lines and be shifted inside the arch. Thus, she divided the space into two – light and dark, attracting and enticing the viewer with the opposite. Chkolnikova used the section of the painted in black staircase in Gdańsk Center of Contemporary Art Łaźnia for the installation Dear. Alien (2007). The screen shows a video in which the artist is interviewing the 86-year-old friend of her grandmother. There are not many questions intruded, Anna Chkolnikova enabled the heroine of her movie to follow the chains of her memories freely. Following the smooth flow of the story on the screen, Anna depicted walls and ceiling with designs – short text passages from the interview.

Anna Chkolnikova’s work materials on the one hand are ephemeral and impermanent, and on the other, they have attractive optics. Uneven and fluctuating concrete tiles attract to touch them, amorphous objects on the floor, under a close look, appeared to be soft linen ropes, the patterns on the wall is made by chalk, ornaments in Dragon installation (2005) were washed by the artist from the dust on the cement floor. Essence of damask rose oil is able to reveal the hidden memories of audience, evaporating in a while. Physical and sensor perceptions are the invisible strings that Anna Chkolnikova uses to connect her objects with the audience.


Anna Chkolnikova (born 1976, Minsk, Belarus) – artist.

Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.


Text: Lena Prents, KALEKTAR ©


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