It would be all too easy to bang on about a shamanic artist from the depths of the Estonian forest, but no one can deny the incantatory force of a practice infused with dark and fascinating energies. You just have to look at her. A creature with eyebrows painted on like black commas, she has the porcelain complexion of a Russian doll with lipstick invariably smudged over half of her face. Whimsical and elusive, she moves in a swirl of floral gauze with a pair of neon sneakers peeking out, or hides under a second skin of flesh-coloured nylon with countless protuberances that makes of her a new Palaeolithic Venus, or nonchalantly strolls through the world in a washing-up-glove hat whose fingers softly palpitate like a sea anemone. When she’s not physically present, her works make an equally strong impression. Her practice reflects the same bricolage of references and materials as her polymorphous, interspecies, transgender punk personnage.
Born in 1985, Kris Lemsalu initially studied ceramics at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn before moving on to design at the Danmarks Designskole in Copenhagen. From this rather practical education she has developed an almost “political” approach centred around the harmonious integration of the individual with their surroundings. Her objects mix finely sculpted ceramic parts and hand-sewn draping with all the detritus of consumer society: CDs, fake flowers, plastic baskets, rubber boots, balloons, car doors, small change – the list is endless. Each of her pieces is a narrative haunted by the past presence of a body.