Kristina Õllek Opens Solo Exhibition at Tütar Gallery
On Thursday, October 5th, Kristina Õllek will open her solo exhibition, titled “Waters of Hypoxic & Once Tropic” at Tütar Gallery, located in the Noblessner district of Tallinn.
Through photographic works and installations combining limestone, sea salt, clay and bioplastics, Õllek has created a bridge between the present moment and the biodiverse equatorial and tropical past of the local seabed. She has exposed the geological time of the Baltic Sea – the stories of which are narrated by crinoids, tabulata, trilobites, brachiopods, cephalopods, cyanobacteria and other fossilised ghosts of the ancient marine life. While we mostly associate cyanobacteria with the toxic blue-green algae that keeps us from having a swim in bodies of water, these bacteria have witnessed the billions of years of evolution and progress while remaining almost unchanged themselves.
According to art historian Annika Toots, the underlying research on marine ecology and anthropocentric influences, both in the context of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, is rooted in Õllek’s interest in the relationship between new technologies and extractivist thinking, including the controversial issue of deep-sea mining. The sea echoes humanity’s desires and fears: standing in the sea, we are simultaneously standing in the deep past of tropical waters once teeming with life and in the deep future of waters asphyxiated by toxic capitalism.
Kristina Õllek (1989) is a visual artist based in Tallinn, Estonia. She is working in the field of photography, video and installation, with a focus on investigating representational processes, geological matter, aquatic ecosystems, and the human-made environment. In her practice, she uses a research-based approach, but within she also incorporates her own fictitious and speculative perspectives. With her work, she raises questions around the relationship between natural and synthetic, original and copy, and understandings of materiality by obtaining a new and reconsidered meaning. She is interested in stretching out the boundaries of what we can see and use as an image and space, especially now in the age of rapidly developing and highly manipulative technology. Within her recent projects she has been focusing on marine habitat and the notion of new technologies, including the geopolitical and ecological conditions associated with them. Her work is often site-sensitive and analyses the location and the format of exhibition-making, questioning the display and the politics of installation in a perspective of a historical museum to an online space and future archeology.
Kristina Õllek graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts (BA 2013, MA 2016; in the Photography Department, Fine Arts). She has complemented her studies in Berlin at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee (2012) and in Rotterdam at Piet Zwart Institute (2016). Õllek has won the Estonian Academy of Arts Young Artist Prize 2013 (BA) and 2016 (MA). Between 2013-2018 she was the co-founder and member of artist-run space Rundum. In 2019, she received the Art Proof Production Grant.
Kristina Õllek’s works have been shown in various international group and solo exhibitions; including at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Oslo), Zeppelin Museum (Friedrichshafen), A Tale of A Tub (Rotterdam), Laurel Project Space (Amsterdam), Le Lieu Unique (Nantes), Screen City Biennial (Stavanger), Fotomuseum Winterthur, Titanic gallery (Turku), KUMU (Tallinn), EKKM (Tallinn), Tallinn Art Hall, Draakoni & Hobusepea gallery (Tallinn), ISSP gallery (Riga), Riga Photography Biennial, Zuzeum (Riga), Benaki Museum (Athens), Snehta Residency (Athens), Coherent (Brussels). Her works belong to several collections (e.g Estonian Art Museum, Estonia; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; European Central Bank art collection, Germany; private collections).
Kristina Õllek’s exhibition at Tütar Gallery will be open until November 19th, and admission is free for the public. The gallery is located at Vesilennuki 24 in the Noblessner Port District and is open from Thursday to Friday from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM and on Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
The exhibition is part of the satellite program of the Tallinn Photomonth 2023 contemporary art biennial.
Accompanying text: Annika Toots
Graphic design and artist dialogue partner: Kert Viiart
Special thanks: Kert Viiart, Mare Isakar, Carlotta Põdra, Tartu University Natural History Museum, Artproof OÜ, Põhjakivi OÜ
The exhibition is supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment