Austere modernist and industrial spaces. Among them there are figures—most of the time only partially visible, carrying out some uncertain tasks. We rarely get to see their faces, emotionless, covered by their hands, hat brim, or helmet edge.

Edna Baud composes her paintings out of film scenes and photos from her private archive. There are no real anecdotes behind them, yet still, as in Cindy Sherman’s ‘Untitled Film Stills’, it’s hard not to get an impression that we know those scenes from somewhere. Raw realist images, painted in greyscale, pale green and purple tones, are composed in tight frames as if combing the film and stylized poster aesthetic. Figures rarely blend into the background, more often they are separated from it by a distinct outline. Their clothes, meticulously draped, are almost architectural, dissolving the boundary between scenery and costume. The space is based on flat planes as in a theater stage. Pictures broken down into separate elements prompt us to sharpen our eyes. Alienating effect strips away the illusion—we critically examine the images instead of allowing them to enchant or deceive us. Edna’s works follow the logic of montage, uncovering a whimsical and untamed stream of thought and associations.

‘To know, it is necessary to take position’, wrote Georges Didi-Huberman in ‘The Eye of History: When Images Take Positions’. Edna Baud’s works trigger that exact process—we take positions on them based on juxtaposed elements, our knowledge, afterimages of associations, apparent and repressed memories. We suspect what we’re seeing, even though the images contain scrappy information. The artist is not telling us a story, she allows us to reflect upon the way we tend to add our own stories to images. The way we interpret them is determined by subtle things—a hand gesture, delicate muscle tension, the way in which a braid or a knife is clutched in fingers. What makes us attribute certain intentions or gender identity to figures which we see only in small fragments? The artist is not admonishing us, she’s not giving any straight answers either. Instead, she provokes us to confront our own, intuitively taken positions.




neither victim
nor participant
nor defender
nor observer
nor outsider
so who

Iryna Shuvalova, ‘Kyiv-Nanjing’

At a first glance there comes a calming feeling. We know this language; we know how to read it. Plain, almost illustration-like figurative painting seems like a manifestation of a ubiquitous phenomenon that could be summed up in a phrase no thoughts, just vibes. Its everywhere, from TikTok to lofi music, offering a simple and wide interpretive framework for our feelings. However, Olga Krykun is one of the few artists that approaches this visual language with a critical attitude, instead of adopting it as a neutral tool for ambiguous storytelling.

Faces without bodies, made up of eyes, noses, mouths and makeup marked with few precise brushstrokes fill up the entire canvases. These are the portraits distilled from digital self-portraits, seen thought the eyes of cameras and app filters. Olga Krykun strips them down to the anatomical bare minimum, but at the same time she gives them distinct features, as if she were to paint a psychological portrait off of a digital avatar. In her paintings she digs into the gap between the deep and the superficial, the portrait and the pictogram, exposing a dark underside of an aesthetic that feeds on glamorizing sadness. She develops this visual language further in the most recent pieces, made in the time of war. Krykun is reacting to it as person caught in between, Ukrainian-born artists living in Prague, connected with Odesa by family roots, but following the news just as many other Czech people do—through the phone screen. War in the Ukraine is a key subject in her most recent pieces, though the artist is not trying to create a pseudo-journalistic depiction of it, reflecting rather on her own position as an observer.

Can You Still Remember This Day? is a story of war seen through the eyes of an expat glued to a screen, a story about emotions and symbols circulating within the social media feeds. In recent paintings from Forget-me-nots series one of those symbols—the sunflower—keeps resurfacing. Krykun humanizes it, gives it a face and big watery eyes. These, however, are not images to raise peoples spirits. They could be deceptively sentimental, balancing on the edge between rigid and soft, strong and maudlin. Together, they form a self-reflective story of constructing our identity, and raise questions about the symbols themselves—what they mean and how we use them.





Olga Krykun (1994, Odesa, Ukraine) received her bachelor’s degree from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Studio of Supermedia) and pursued her master’s degree in the Studio of Painting, which she received in 2021. In 2022 she became a holder of Jindřich Chalupecký Award. Olga Krykun uses diverse types of media in her art work, including mainly video, objects and painting, which she subsequently assembles to create complex installations. By combining elements of fictional narratives with references to real cultural and socially relevant symbols, she invents a self-contradicting mythology of our day-and-age. Her practice is strongly rooted in intuition, emotion and personal experience, the elements of which are approached with a distinct visual style and specific aesthetic, making her works reminiscent of surreal visions or a kind of dreamlike trance, resulting in a highly suggestive viewer experience.