Olga Jurgenson

Olga Jurgenson: Dialogue with Piet Mondrian
In contemporary art the combination of traditional photolandscapes where the artist arranges his own subject-matter, forming a landscape both real, and created according to the author's design, is perceived as a natural and easily "readable" artistic device. Recurrent reflexions, streams of associations, visual artistic memory treated as subject-matter, as a "model" supplanting the real model, all these traits have become familiar attributes of contemporary art. They comprise an almost inevitable condition that determines the belonging of art works to the "mainstream" of modern culture.
Postmodernism sanctioned the undisguised use of plastic citations. In the space of postmodernist art the author often turns out to be not a "demiurge", which is a traditional position for an artist, but he becomes an interlocuter, an interpreter, a mediator in this complex dialogue between the bygone, the existing, and the ever growing. All that does not make it easy to find one's real calling.
Olga Jurgenson took the risk, and she succeded in doing so to no small degree.
She developed an original kind of dialogue with the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), a classic of the XX century, an eminent representative of abstract art in its most rational and "pure"
geometrical version.
Nowadays both the spectator, and the creator of the spectacle are naturally concerned with the problem of interaction between the classical avant-garde art and the art of our time, with the problem of how the avant-garde exists in the contemporary "artistic space", both in culture, and in the real environement. Our time seems not to have noticed how the classical high avant-garde art slipped away in history, in what an imperceptibly rapid way it became a past, a remote past. It is senseless to discuss it any more, but it is fruitful to keep a dialogue with it.
Following Paul Klee's excellent principle not to reflect what is visible, but to create vision, Olga Jurgenson makes her own visual world where the cues given by Mondrian's art works and her own pictorial phantasies, presented in a spontaneous, direct way or taken with a camera in some natural surroundings, form "another universe". In this world the art that has already been recognized, the new art and mere nature co-exist in a natural and edifying way. The spatial paradox, a well thought-out "break" of perspective, fosters that field of tension between fragments of reality and artistic phenomena that transforms the whole art work in a new reality. The famous art historian Herbert Read complained of art being prone to regress, of inevitable declines superseding any most active tendencies. The attempt to find the sense of what has passed in the space of Art proper helps, to a great extent, to advance, or at least to understand and interpret the past in a fruitful way. And it gives rise to a kind of wandering throughout time and space, where a live voice and a powerful echo of the past sound not simply in unison, but in an elaborately sophisticated duet, in which the imaginary, the known, and the visible are equal partners.
But for the taste and high feeling of pictorial harmony, the project of Olga Jurgenson would have remained another diverting declaration among others of which everyone has long since tired. Contemporary art, when it is taken out of the context of Art proper, remains a futile coquetry. But the artistic gift, faceted by tact and a sense of style, brings to most risky experiments an everlasting dignity.

Mikhail German
Professor, Doctor of Art History,
Member of the Academy of Humanities
Member of the International Association of Art Critics,
Principle Researcher of the State Russian Museum


Was born in 1969.
Graduated in 1994 from the Academy of Fine Arts in
Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Lives and works in Kohtla-Jarve, Estonia.

Solo Exhibitions

2002 Kohtla-Jarve Museum, Estonia
2001 Am Brahmsplatz Gallery in the Russian Cultural Institute, Vienna,Austria
2001 Kohtla-Jarve City Gallery, Estonia
2001 Amerling House Gallery, Vienna, Austria
2000 Artists Studios, KulturKontakt, Vienna, Austria
1999 Borey Gallery, St. Petersburg, Russia
1999 Kohtla-Jarve City Gallery, Estonia
1999 Raatuse Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
1999 Narva Museum Art Gallery, Estonia
1997 Estonian Art Museum, Johvi, Estonia
1997 Narva Museum Art Gallery, Estonia
1997 Johvi Art School Gallery, Estonia
1994 Kohtla-Jarve Museum, Estonia

Selected Group Exhibitions

2002 Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK
2002 Artists Studios, London, UK
2002 Global Fusion 2002, International exhibition in Palace Porcia, Vienna, Austria
2001 Europa erweitern, The House of Industry, Vienna, Austria
2000 All St.Petersburg, Central Exhibition Hall, St. Petersburg, Russia
2000, 1998, 1997, 1993 Ida-Virumaa Annual Art Exhibition,
Estonian Art Museum, Johvi, Estonia
1997 Exhibition of Johvi and Kohtla-Jarve artists in Norderstedt, Germany
1994 Woman Illuminating the Night slide show , Berlin, Germany
1993 Bothnia Art Workshop exhibition in Oulu Art Museum, Finland
1993 International exhibition in Arktinen Gallery, Oulu, Finland
1992 Spring Art Salon, St. Petersburg, Russia
1992 Ariadna Gallery Biennial St. Petersburg,Russia


2002 Ahrenshoop Artistís House, Germany (scholarship)
2002 KulturKontakt, Vienna, Austria
2002 Cultural Endowment of Estonia
2001 KulturKontakt, Vienna, Austria
2000 KulturKontakt, Vienna, Austria ( scholarship )
2000 APEXchanges, European Cultural Foundation, Amsterdam, Holland
2000 Cultural Endowment of Estonia
1999 Cultural Endowment of Estonia
1998 KulturKontakt, Vienna, Austria
1998 Cultural Endowment of Estonia
1998 Ida-Virumaa Development Foundation, Estonia
1998 Cultural Endowment of Estonia.
1997 Cultural Endowment of Estonia


Estonian Art Museum
Kohtla-Jarve Museum
Narva Museum Art Gallery, Estonia
Oulu Art Museum, Finland
Private collections in Austria, Estonia, Germany,
Russia, Finland, France,Italy, Russia, Sweden, USA.

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