KRIS LEMSALU | MEXED MEDIA AND PERFORMANCE |
Kris Lemsalu (born 1985, Tallinn) is a contemporary artist based in Tallinn, Estonia and Vienna, Austria. She studied art at the Estonian Academy of Arts, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Eccentric with color and material, she uses props, costumes, and other natural materials to portray her artwork. In these instillations, Lemsalu sculpts an installation that "that gives birth to a world of shamanic force, visionary weirdness, and collective revival.".
By playing with traditions, Lemsalu blurs the origin and scenically removes their dogma. She avoids "concrete labeling, simultaneously showing us the absurdity of as well as the effectiveness of rituals. From this collective transformative euphoria emerges a belief in the possibility of human redemption." "A punk pagan trickster feminist sci-fi shaman, Kris Lemsalu gathers together both collected and crafted objects into totemic sculptures and hallucinatory environments, animated with performances by the artist and her coterie of collaborators;"
Her work being shown in many places, including Berlin, Copenhagen and Tokyo. In 2015, she participated in Frieze Art Fair New York, where her work Whole Alone 2 was selected among of five best exhibits by the Frieze New York jury.
Lemsalu's ouvre is eccentric and independent, she creates abstract objects and figures to communicate inner states of mind and elaborate on the human condition in the modern, challenging world. "Her practice reflects the same bricolage of references and materials as her polymorphous, interspecies, transgender punk personnage." She is known in Estonia and internationally.
Lemsalu uses porcelain, fur, wool, textile, plastic, silicone, ready-mades as the material of her work. Lemsalu’s work displays attention to color, and effects of the surface, an interest in archetypical and symbolic motives, and also an ironic and reflexive relationship to her medium, with scenographic and absurd humor. Her art includes self-portraits and photo scenes in addition to her abstract sculptures. Her artistic message is focused on the individual and the existential reaction of the individual towards the world.
Aside from installations, musical performances also play an important part in Lemsalu’s oevre. For example, “Going Going” at the Performa biennial in New York (2017), “In Heaven Everything is Fine” in KOKO, London (2017), “The Birth of Venus” (2010) and collaboration with art group Gelitin. In public Lemsalu often appears costumized. The documentation of her installations and costumes are published in “Kris Lemsalu” (published by Temnikova & Kasela gallery, 2015) and "Kris Lemsalu. Birth V - Hi and Bye" (published by Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2019).
Participating in the Biennale Arte 2019, Lemsalu characterized the city of Venice "as a living creature, perpetually decadent and yet endlessly revived." Unlike her earlier works in which Lemsalu focused on engaging death as the main topic, in her Venice Biennale show, she was "more concerned with life – although death wears a carnival mask in Venice anyway." During this time, Lemsalu worked along with group of people including "the curator Maria Arusoo, the poet Andrew Berardini, the mentor Sarah Lucas, the researcher Irene Campolmi, her friend/collaborator Tamara Luuk and performers who brought the inaugural ritual to life during the opening of the Biennale."