Kris Lemsalu announces her team for theĀ Estonian Pavilion at Venice biennial

Kris Lemsalu announces her team for the Estonian Pavilion solo show "BIRTH V" at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

Our wet myths and sticky fairytales were never just stories. And in the work of Kris Lemsalu, fantasy tentacles into reality until art and life majestically snarl into a singularly glorious mess. And not just dreams and fictions tangle in her work but also the lives of others: friends and musicians, writers and curators, workers and strangers and all together, catalyzed by the artist, we make something more meaningful than anyone could alone.

For the Estonian Pavilion, Lemsalu gathers all these sculptural phantasms and disparate collaborators into an installation that gives birth to a world of shamanic force, visionary weirdness, and collective revival. While Lemsalu in earlier works engaged with the topic of death, for this exhibition, “BIRTH V”, she’s more concerned with life - although death wears a carnival mask in Venice anyway.

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. Wrought with humor and pathos, entrancing and repulsive, her work is a shuddering laugh squeezed with bravery from vulnerability, broken but jubilant, mournful without forgetting its heart in solemnity.

In the world summoned by Lemsalu, song drapes polychrome porcelain, bones dance and fountains seethe, and the line between action and object blurs; bodies easily act as things and vice versa. For the Biennale, Lemalu channels the city of Venice as a living creature, perpetually decadent and yet regularly revived.

Kris Lemsalu was born in 1985 in Tallinn, Estonia, and lives and works between Vienna and Tallinn. She creates mixed-media sculptures, installations and performances with unexpected materials. Lemsalu’s pieces evoke the bestial side of human beings and civilizations and are often underscored by feminist themes. Lemsalu has shown at Goldsmiths' CCA (2018), Secession Vienna (2018), as part of Performa 17 (2017), DRAF performance night (2017), Bunshitu Gallery, Tokyo (2015), Ferdinand Bauman Gallery, Prague (2015) and is represented by Koppe Astner, Glasgow and Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn.

Lemsalu invited a team of writers, artists, curators and friends to collaborate with her on the exhibition, among others Andrew Berardini (1982, Los Angeles) a writer of quasi-essayistic prose poems about permeability between fiction and reality; Sarah Lucas (1962, London) – artist, friend and a mentor of Kris Lemsalu; Irene Campolmi (1987, Copenhagen) whose curatorial research focuses on various performative endeavours that think through postcolonial, queer and feminist theories, and Tamara Luuk (1952, Tallinn) who has been Kris´ companion in art and life for a long time, currently working as the contemporary art curator at Tallinn Art Hall.

The exhibition is organized by Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia and supported by Estonian Ministry of Culture. 

Commissioner: Maria Arusoo (CCA, Estonia)
Head of communication: Kaarin Kivirähk (CCA,Estonia / press information
Production managers: Evelyn Raudsepp, Sten Ojavee (CCA, Estonia)
Technical director: Tõnu Narro
Partners: COBALT Legal, DSV Global Transport and Logistics, Temnikova & Kasela gallery, Koppe Astner gallery

Location: Estonian Pavilion, Giudecca 210/L, Venice
Exhibition is open: 11.05 – 24.11.2019 (press preview 8.-10.05.2019)