Artists Kitty Florentine and Kris Lemsalu convert 99 Canal into a metamorphic landscape of gardens and lighting features that mimic the glowing phenomena of young Mycena mushrooms.
Sunday, Nov. 5: 8pm
As long as the blood beats in our fountains
Artists Kitty Florentine and Kris Lemsalu come together for a first-time collaboration to center a metamorphic landscape as an agent of interrogation, pleasure, mystery, and transformation.
Taking place at 99 Canal, the artists convert the space into a series of gardens connected by pathways and lit by nets that mimic the glowing phenomena of young Mycena mushrooms. Each garden ‘island’ functions as its own hydraulic state – with fountains, water reservoirs, steams, and scents. Centered in the environment, where all paths lead, is a large tongue sculpture by Lemsalu. In the performance, the symbols of body and fountain are blurred, each becoming the other as Lemsalu transforms herself into a human-water production, troubling concepts of origin and source. Florentine glues together the staging with sound and movement that is inspired by her harp and Linnujämm Improvisation (Bird Jam Session), built on the song of a Common Snipe, transformed into textures and soundscapes with an important focus on the cycle of becoming and dissolving. Within the lineage of both artist’s work, the environment is ephemeral, anthropomorphic, and performing alongside them in a playful scramble of agential exchange.
The partnership between Florentine and Lemsalu highlights themes present in much of their practices individually: that wildness is really crafted after an image of ourselves, that the quotidian is often a surreal ecstasy, and that time’s passing is far more akin – like water itself – to metamorphic changes of state than to linear progressions of narrative.
About Kris Lemsalu
Based between New York and Tallinn, Estonia, Kris Lemsalu is a multidisciplinary artist whose varied practice spans sculpture and performance in a continual negotiation of the line drawn between the practice of life and the practice of art. Fusing the natural world with the artificial, beauty with the grotesque, and humor with the gravity of mortality in an interest and fascination with the physical world, Lemsalu often combines classical methods of ceramics to build staged installations. Kris Lemsalu and Kyp Malone's first joint commission was part of Performa 17’s Estonian Pavilion Without Walls. She represented Estonia in the 58th Venice Biennial in 2019.
Lemsalu’s recent solo exhibitions include Peace @ 295 Church Street, Margot Samel, New York (2022); Angels Gone Pissing, Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn (2022); Love Stories, Meyer Kainer, Vienna (2022); A Snail’s Tale with Kyp Malone, High Line Art, New York (2021); Hunt Kastner, Prague (2021); Love Song Sing-Along with Kyp Malone, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2020); Love Song Sing Along (Once Again With Feeling!) with Kyp Malone, Kai Art Center, Tallinn (2020); Goldsmiths CCA in London (2018) as well as Secession in Vienna (2018).
About Kitty Florentine
Uncanny and ethereal, Kitty Florentine is an Estonian artist who creates soundscapes of kaleidoscopic volume to evoke cinema, temporality, atmosphere, and alternative realms. Through her multifaceted vocals, with accompanying instruments, a rumbling bass and digitized sound, her genre-bending practice explores the textures in sound you can touch and sense – slipping between various transformations that compose the nature of being.
Notable recent performances include Intsikurmu, Põlva, Estonia (2023); Øyafestivalen in Oslo, Norway (2023); Liveurope festival, Prague, Czech Republic (2023); What’s Next In Music, Vilnius, Lithuania (2023); Tallinn Music Week, Tallinn, Estonia (2023); Station Narva, Tallinn, Estonia (2022) and Music x Media Industry Awards in Tampere, Finland (2023). She has been a supporting act for artists such as Hatari and Fever Ray. Her most recent album was nominated at the Estonian Music Awards in 2023 for Indie/Alternative Album of the Year.
Organized by Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center / Kai Art Center Supported by Baltic Culture Fund, Estonian Ministry of Culture and Consulate General of Estonia in New York.
Karin Laansoo, curator
Kris Lemsalu, sculpture
Kitty Florentine, sound and vocals
Viktoria Martjanova, production design
Federico Bolagno, audio technician
Andrew Giugno, Lighting
Special thanks to Kristina Oras, Erik Liiv, and 99 Canal