The Estonian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennial: Kris Lemsalu "Birth V - Hi and Bye"

Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia presents the Estonian pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale: Kris Lemsalu "Birth V - Hi and Bye". The vernissage of the exhibition will be on this Friday, May 10 at 5pm on Giudecca island.

The exhibition opening will be accompanied by an opening ritual by on Roman Lemberg, Michael Kleine, Michiko Takahashi, Carola Caggiano. The concert is inspired by the magical rituals, aimed to “give life“ to the statues of gods and goddesses in ancient Rome and the hellenistic world. The ritual is based on the key themes of birth, death and rebirth, all of which emerge from the waters of Venice. 

After the vernissage, there will be a Baltic Party, starting at 9pm at Oficine 800. Baltic Party is organized by Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia in collaboration with Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts. 

There will be live performances by Regret (EE), Domenique Dumont (LV), ┼Żygimantas Kudirka (LT) and music will be played by Kaspars Groševs (LV), Kristopher Luigend (EE), Raul Saaremets (EE), Try My Love (LT). 

Please RSVP for the party: rsvp@balticparty.com

Kris Lemsalu
Birth V Hi and Bye
The Estonian Pavilion at the 58th Venice biennale
Giudecca 211, 30133 Veneetsia
11 May  – 24 November 2019 
Tuesday – Sunday 10 – 18
Link to press photos
Additional information: info@birthv.com 

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, London(2018), Secession,Vienna (2018), as part of Performa 17, New York(2017), DRAF performance night, London(2017), Bunshitu Gallery, Tokyo (2015), Ferdinand Bauman Gallery, Prague (2015) and is represented by Koppe Astner, Glasgow and Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn.
 
Among the writers, artists, curators and friends Lemsalu invited collaborate with her on the exhibition include Andrew Berardini (1982, based in Los Angeles) a writer of quasi-essayistic prose poems about permeability between fiction and reality; Tamara Luuk (1952, based in Tallinn) who has been Kris´ friend and collaborator for a long time, currently working as the contemporary art curator at Tallinn Art Hall, Irene Campolmi (1987, based in Copenhagen) whose curatorial research focuses on various performative endeavours that think through postcolonial, queer and feminist theories, and Sarah Lucas (1962, based in London)– artist, friend and a mentor of Kris Lemsalu.
 
It makes sense that Kris’ totem rises out of Venice, a place where directions tangled up in gushing canals, a crossroads where everyone sooner or later gets wet, where the water that made this ancient town possible will swallow it up and sink all its churches and bridges with a gulp. Hardly ashes to ashes… rather water to water. The world won’t end with a bang or a whimper but a splash. The first life swam out of it, the last will swan dive into it. And somewhere in between is Venice.

New York artist Kyp Malone (1973) has created a sound installation for the exhibition where he has sampled the sounds of Venice and that will accompany the exhibition until November. 
 
The Estonian Pavilion at the Venice biennale is commissioned by Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia and supported by Estonian Ministry of Culture.
 
TEAM
Artist Kris Lemsalu
Commissioner Maria Arusoo
Helping minds Andrew Berardini, Tamara Luuk, Irene Campolmi, Sarah Lucas
Sound installation Kyp Malone
Graphic designer Aadam Kaarma
Communication manager Kaarin Kivirähk
Production managers Sten Ojavee, Evelyn Raudsepp
Installation Tõnu Narro, Mihkel Lember, Mark Clive Couzens, Tarvo Porroson
Light designer Revo Koplus
Performance team Carola Caggiano, Michael Kleine, Roman Lemberg, Michiko Takahashi 
Production assistants Mia Tamme, Kristina Oras, Aleksandra Kiskonen, Geoffrey Badel, Chloé Viton, Anastassia Langinen, Helena Grethel Kask
 
Special thanks to Allan Hmelnitski, Andres Allik, Anna Kaarma, Art Allmägi, Brigit Arop, Bruno Quast, Edith Karlson, Emma Astner, Epp ja Martin Kruus, Fere OÜ, Gebrüder Kristen, Collection, Grete Tiigiste, Grete-Ly Valing, Helena Grethel Kask, Ingrid Allik, Johanna Jolen Kuzmeko, Kadi Kesküla, Kauri Kallas, Keiu Krikmann, Keiu Maasik, Kendall Koppe, Kent Märjamaa, Kerli Praks, Kristina Oras, Kristopher Luigend, Laur Kivistik, Laura Elisabeth Konsand, Liisu Ristal, Lilian Hiob, Magdaleena Maasik, Margit Lemsalu, Marika Agu, Mart Piirimees, Mia Tamme, Michele Pagel, Nicole Hacket, Olavi Sander, Olga Temnikova, Peeter Kutman, Raul Saaremets, Riho Lemsalu, Riivo Anton, Robert Grunenberg, Sille Luiga, Tallinna keraamikatehas, Tarvo Porroson, Tomas Ewald.
 
Supported by: Estonian Ministry of Culture, Estonian Cultural Endowment, COBALT Law Firm, DSV Transport and Logistics, Outset Estonia, Silber Auto, Estonian Artists Association, Elusia, Bekker, Leffe, Temnikova and Kasela gallery, Koppe Astner gallery

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