Synchrodogs unleashed | Art Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Synchrodogs unleashed 

The self-documenting Ukrainian art couple comes to Chicago

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In an interview last year, Tania Shcheglova summed up the Synchrodogs approach to photography pretty succinctly: "We have no shame and are stupid enough to shoot anything that looks weird or naked." Shcheglova is one half of Synchrodogs, the other being her fellow Ukrainian and significant other Roman Noven. The pictures they take of themselves are touched by a very particular strangeness. One portrait shows Shcheglova wearing a shaggy fur coat, her face covered with fake dragon tattoos, a plastic tarantula in her mouth.

The duo has done work for Urban Outfitters and Vice and shares a hipster aesthetic with those enterprises, characterized by bad lighting and awkward postures. But Synchrodogs photos also communicate a sense of play—a suggestion that Shcheglova and Noven just happened to stumble across a given setting and decided that the best thing would be to get naked and take pictures. They make efficient use of their surroundings. Among the photographs on display at Public Works Gallery starting Friday are some taken on a beach (with Shcheglova wrapped in gauzy fabric, adjusting her sunglasses), on a pile of dirt (Shcheglova stacked rigidly atop Noven, as if they were two toys), and in a patch of flowers at night (Noven carrying Shcheglova, who's either asleep or unconscious). That last image evokes a fairy-tale lumberjack rescuing a distressed damsel, only with fewer clothes and weirder.

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