Kris Lemsalu: Birth V – Hi and Bye. Estonian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2019

The Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia presents the Estonian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale with a project from Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu. The exhibition is titled “Birth V – Hi and Bye.”

Here’s an excerpt from the project description:

Birth is always an action.

Deep in the primordial ooze, an accidental creature coalesced. Perhaps on some thermal vent deep in the ocean, its crackle of life may not have even been the first, but from that single of original creativity flows all of life. That one quirk of heat (love maybe?) squirming through the sea into existence makes us family to dinosaurs and squids, snails and bacteria, that first weird lost root in the tree of life. For better or worse, that creature invented themselves.
The “ooze” feels right. Life often begins somewhere wet and hot, squelching and viscous. But there’s also of course the wet depths of our mothers. From itching desire to slippery fucking, the deep choices and growing weight, the screaming hot mess of birth that each of us. And after that, equally messy in its way, we have a second birth: the one where we invent ourselves.
We’re here because of the artist Kris Lemsalu’s sculptures and actions that she’s made for the Estonian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Birth, life, and death in three stories, spurting upward with a shaman’s summons from the wet depths of tangled pools through the broken music of life and up to an angelic conclusion, the rebirth of art. Sprayed with spiritual ecstasy, sprouting more than a few polychrome porcelain pussies, reaching with a hundred hands ever open and outward, pulling us into life, helping us along, lifting us into the beyond. Between here and there, a boat like Chiron’s, but one that just doesn’t take us out but also into life. Even if we invent ourselves, we’re not so lonely as that first creature, we have the help of others to get there.

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.

Kris Lemsalu: Birth V – Hi and Bye. Estonian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2019. Opening Night and Performance by Kris Lemsalu, Roman Lemberg, Michael Kleine, Kyp Malone, Michiko Takahashi, and Carola Caggiano. Estonian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Giudecc, Venice (Italy), May 10, 2019.

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