The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, September 16, 2019

Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu opens exhibition at Vienna's Secession
Kris Lemsalu, Keys Open Doors, exhibition view Secession 2018, photo: Maximilian Anelli-Monti, Courtesy of the artist and Temnikova & Kasela Gallery.

VIENNA.- The Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu creates complex sculptures, installations, and performances that fuse the animal kingdom with humankind, nature with the artificial, beauty with repulsion, lightness with gravity, life with death. She revives traditional techniques and methods to combine animal bodies and porcelain objects with found (natural) materials such as furs, leather, seashells, wool, or paper in theatrical installations that whisk us off into a world of the fantastic imagination.

Spanning a wide range of media and modes of production, Lemsalu’s multifaceted oeuvre incorporates elements from performance art, found objects, manufactured pieces, and music. Her multimedia creations attest to her passion for detail, hinting at a critique of society by revealing tensions between the politics of gender, art-making, nature, and time-honored craftsmanship. The fragile aesthetic of her ceramics clashes with bold colors and forms bursting with energy that make for formidable visual impressions. Lemsalu is fascinated by the possibility of making objects that are not aestheticized—their physical presence is narrative rather than representational. In her self-portraits, she often reinvents herself as a creature blending masculine with feminine features, surrounding herself with a new reality whose complexion and character are perpetually shifting.

Seeking to erase any distance between herself and her objects, Lemsalu not only presents her installations as self-contained constructions, she also uses them as stages for performances in which her sculptures become an integral part of her attire. A characteristic example is the installation Whole Alone 2, her piece for the 2015 Frieze Art Fair in New York. Perhaps her best-known work, it consists of a large ceramic tortoise shell resting on a waterbed. The artist herself spent eight hours each day for the five days of the fair lying motionlessly inside the shell: in the thick of the action and yet ensconced, a delicate body encased in a rigid second skin. The work is a kind of costume, disguising the wearer while circulating in a public setting populated by buyers and sellers, art-world insiders and tourists. Asked why she slips inside some of her pieces but not others, she explains: “Some works somehow demand my bodily presence. When the installations get bigger and bigger, sometimes I feel like my body is necessary as a material to balance it.” This equilibrium and the constant interplay between heaviness and lightness, between stability and fragility are central features of her works, which know no hierarchy of materials and do not make a distinction between things and bodies.

Most recently, Lemsalu has collaborated with musicians to add yet another dimension to her performances. Going, going, a live performance interweaving sculptures, animated videos, music, and spoken words she created with the New York-based visual artist and musician Kyp Malone, premiered at the Performa 17 biennial in New York. Also in 2017, she joined the singer-songwriter Glasser on the stage during the DRAF Evening of Performances in London.

Lemsalu’s performative sculptures and sculptural performances often quote ancient myths and rituals from different cultures. In her exhibition in the Grafisches Kabinett, titled Keys Open Doors, she positions two guardian figures that vaguely recall Sumo wrestlers on both sides of the curtained window, which is designed to represent a door to another world, a gateway to the light. The artist’s unique visual language transforms the gallery into a stage. The fabulous creatures are both headless bodies and disembodied faces, stewards and custodians; the keys resting in their hands, they bear responsibility and hold the power.

Kris Lemsalu studied ceramics at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, and then at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Born in 1985, Kris Lemsalu lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia, and Vienna.

Today's News

November 20, 2018

New conservation reveals lost details of intimate Gainsborough portrait

Sotheby's American Art Auction totals $44.1 million

Phillips opens a selling exhibition in Hong Kong dedicated to Banksy

Julian Opie creates a new interactive art studio for children and families

MoMA announces the first major publication on former Director René d'Harnoncourt

Sotheby's presents 'Geek Week': NY auctions of space exploration and the history of science & technology

Waddington Custot opens an exhibition of new work by American sculptor Jedd Novatt

Marja Sakari appointed new Museum Director of Ateneum Art Museum

Vienna Art Week 2018 opens its 14th edition

Diligent research propels a Gainsborough study, initially believed a copy, to $103,125

China's youth embrace street dance amid hip-hop crackdown

British artist Phoebe Dickinson unveils new landscape paintings

Marilyn Monroe's Thunderbird sells for $490,000 at Julien's Auctions

Final report: Luxembourg Art Week 2018

Holabird Western Americana Collection to hold five-day 'to die for' sale

Morphy's to auction premier fine and decorative art, silver, luxury timepieces Dec. 5-6

Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu opens exhibition at Vienna's Secession

Everson Museum receives $4.8 million donation

New Michel Comte multimedia installation in the Arctic commissioned by Wavelength Foundation

Over 400 lots of fine art, estate jewelry and decorative art will come up for bid at Gray's Auctioneers

Art Düsseldorf establishes itself as a set date for collectors, curators and art lovers in the region

Sondra Perry wins Nam June Paik Award 2018

Can art help champion gender and racial inequality?

Christie's announces highlights included in the Winter Season Luxury Sales in London

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful