Kris Lemsalu (1985) is an artist, who primarily uses porcelain, fur, wool, silicone, ready-mades and other stuff as the material of her work. Lemsalu’s work displays attention to colour, 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 humour.
“Things” – as Lemsalu refers to her installations – contain hints of pop culture and are bestowed with humour, reflecting ironically on habits which we have acquired, and consider necessary, beautiful and desirable. The poetic titles of her works provide effective and Dionysian perspectives, which wouldn’t bear literal interpretation. Curator Tamara Luuk has said that Kris Lemsalu, who is schooled as a ceramicist, has grown into a nomad, and fills up a space in Estonian art history which lacks artists with “primitive energy”, who work with real, wild and authentic figures.
It’s characteristic for Lemsalu to use materials in a rare combination, and juxtapose objects in surprising compositions. One of the main keywords to describe her work is dialogue, which makes visible how elements used in her works complement, abolish and stress each other. The references embedded in her work direct us in many directions, initiating oppositional associations regarding the art piece.
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).
Kris Lemsalu studied ceramics at the Estonian Academy of Arts (BA, 2008), Danmarks Designskoles (2009-2010) and Vienna Art Academy (2010-2014). Since 2008 Lemsalu has participated in various exhibitions. Her latest and upcoming personal exhibitions are the following: Komplot, Brussel (2018); Koppe Astner, Glasgow (2017-2018); “Condo”, London (2017, with Koppe Astner), “Afternoon Tear Drinker”, Kunstraum Lakeside, Klagenfurt (2016); “Beauty and the Beast”, Tallinn Art Hall (2016, with Tiit Pääsuke); “Blood Knot Step By Step”, Bunshitu Gallery,Tōkyō (2015); “Fine With Afterlife”, Ferdinand Bauman Gallery, Prague (2015); “Lord Got To Keep On Groovin’”, Temnikova & Kasela gallery, Tallinn (2013); “Top Sinner”, Pro Choice, Vienna (2012); “Evian Desert”, Tanja Wagneri gallery, Berlin (2012); “Being Together”, Temnikova & Kasela gallery, Tallinn (2012, with Edith Karlson). Her works have been included in several group shows like “I’m a Painting” KUMU, Tallinn (2014); “Urschleim”, Fauna, Copenhagen (2013); “is my territory.”, König Galerie, Vienna (2013); “Jeden Tag Gelatin”, 21er Haus, Vienna (2013) and “Glasstress Gotika”, Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Venice (2015).
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