Kris Lemsalu, Keys Open Doors, exhibition view Secession 2018, photo: Maximilian Anelli-Monti, Courtesy of the artist and Temnikova & Kasela Galerie

Kris Lemsalu

Keys Open Doors

November 16, 2018 – January 20, 2019

The Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu creates complex sculptures, installations, and performances that fuse the animal kingdom with humankind, nature with the artificial, beauty with repulsion, lightness with gravity, life with death. She revives traditional techniques and methods to combine animal bodies and porcelain objects with found (natural) materials such as furs, leather, seashells, wool, or paper in theatrical installations that whisk us off into a world of the fantastic imagination.

Spanning a wide range of media and modes of production, Lemsalu’s multifaceted oeuvre incorporates elements from performance art, found objects, manufactured pieces, and music. Her multimedia creations attest to her passion for detail, hinting at a critique of society by revealing tensions between the politics of gender, art-making, nature, and time-honored craftsmanship. The fragile aesthetic of her ceramics clashes with bold colors and forms bursting with energy that make for formidable visual impressions. Lemsalu is fascinated by the possibility of making objects that are not aestheticized—their physical presence is narrative rather than representational. In her self-portraits, she often reinvents herself as a creature blending masculine with feminine features, surrounding herself with a new reality whose complexion and character are perpetually shifting.


Kris Lemsalu born in 1985, lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia and Vienna.