Installation – sculpture.
Kris Lemsalu Malone enters the realm of things and objects, but rather than being interested in the idea of becoming an object, e.g. as formulated by Hito Steyerl on the example of David Bowie, Lemsalu Malone captures the transformation of people in the state of becoming with an object, becoming an entity always open to change – a situation described, for example, by Paul B. Preciado in the Countersexual Manifesto (2018) or, 30 years before him, by Donna Haraway in the Cyborg Manifesto (1985). Feminist and queer theories are the environment with which performances, objects and installations of Kris Lemsalu Malone are intertwined; but they are not a basis on which Lemsalu Malone would construct any models or monsters. The creation of her works is a far more complex and intuitive matter, in which the artist’s personal life and that of her friends, her own understanding of the world, mythologies, folklore, popular culture and the spiritual interconnecting of vital energies play a role.
All that we “successfully” displace from our bodies (physically and mentally) is drawn back into the body by Kris Lemsalu Malone, as close to herself as possible, in order to re-establish a relationship with objects that we have subjected to the cycle of consumption and that pass through our bodies not to be vitally connected with us, but to passively provide us with ever better lives. The artist interrupts that consumption Ouroboros and makes new rhizomes that cling to her body in symbiotic experience and queering euphoria. The artist does not become any specific object or objects, but she diverts them from trajectories determined by humans toward acting they play together becoming one collective body, for instance a lazy flower.
The artist’s constant exhibiting herself is not a show, but a need to rethink her body, and figuratively also ours, in relation to objects and other bodies. Over the past centuries, the hygienic and defensive isolation of human bodies has culminated in an individualistic experiencing of one’s own self. Using one’s body for the possibility of establishing and experiencing contact with those we have made our environment is then a necessity as well as responsibility.
The flower and Kris, intertwined, are lazy together. They are lazy and waiting for others to join. They are lazy and rebel. They rebel against growth that leads to being eaten. They rebel in a way their bodies allow. What would we do if all the flowers turned lazy? Would we have to adapt our pace of life to them? To slow down the metabolism of people and society? But a lazy flower is also fun, as it simply moves lazily through the gallery waiting for its companions. Fun as an attitude, as an opinion. Maybe it’s just enjoying an altered state of consciousness due to some fertilizer cocktail from a garden centre that we have put in its water. Travelling slowly back and forth through the gallery, changing its views, it rebels as best it can. It shows those who haven't noticed yet that at least since the 19th century plants have not been tied to one place, but are almost as mobile as we animals.
We can join the collective rebellion of Kris and the flower in a performance that will take place in the course of the exhibition. Kris Lemsalu Malone makes voice performances and involves her friends and acquaintances in them as a part of the silent exhibitions. Sound is in fact a powerful instrument of rebellion and although it comes from one body, it affects a number of bodies that forget to defend themselves, for a while succumbing to a state of common consciousness.
Kris Lemsalu Malone lives in Tallinn and New York. Her sculptures, installations and performances dealing with interspecies communication, connecting animals with people on a spiritual and symbolic level, nature, artificiality, beauty with cheapness, gravity with lightness and life with death, were exhibited at the 58th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art, the Love Song Sing-Along exhibition, KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, the Keys Open Doors at the Secession in Vienna, among others. Lemsalu Malone combines the bodies of animals, people and ceramic objects with found (natural and synthetic) material such as furs, leather, shells, wool, paper, and man-made fibres in theatrical installations that take us into the world of fantasy. In an effort to erase any distance between herself and her objects, the artist also uses her installations as stages for performances, in which her sculptures become an integral part of her clothing and she connects with them through a changing “skin” and make-up. Her works transfer the memory hidden in local mythologies to the surfaces of objects that resemble artefacts and by-products of contemporary civilization.
Special thanks to the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Moravian-Silesian Region.