We’re excited to announce that Kitty Florentine and Kris Lemsalu‘s performance As Long as the Blood Beats in our Fountains is part of the official program of Performa 2023. Taking place at venues across New York from 1-19 November, the tenth edition of Performa brings together some of the most innovative visual artists working today. As Long as the Blood Beats in our Fountains will take place at 99 Canal on Sunday, November 5 at 8pm.
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.
Based between New York and Tallinn, Estonia, Kris Lemsalu is a multidisciplinary artist whose varied practice spans sculpture and performance. She represented Estonia in the 58th Venice Biennial in 2019. Her works have been exhibited worldwide, with recent shows at Kai Art Center, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Margot Samel, Temnikova & Kasela, Meyer Kainer, High Line Art, Hunt Kastner, and many others. Kris Lemsalu and Kyp Malone’s first joint commission was part of Performa 17’s Estonian Pavilion Without Walls.
Uncanny and ethereal, Kitty Florentine is an Estonian artist whose genre-bending practice explores the textures in sound you can touch and sense. Her notable recent performances include Øyafestivalen, Liveurope festival, What’s Next In Music, Tallinn Music Week and Music x Media Industry Awards. Her most recent album was nominated at the Estonian Music Awards in 2023 for Indie/Alternative Album of the Year.
Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center’s cooperation with Performa began in 2017 with the Estonian Pavilion Without Walls. Having Lemsalu and Florentine’s performance in the main program of Performa is a unique opportunity to highlight Estonian contemporary art in the world’s art capital.
The Performa Biennial, now in its tenth year, has created a global platform for the twenty-first century performance. Founded by curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa has produced 9 biennials since 2005, worked with more than 1,000 artists, and is one of the largest non-commercial contemporary art events in the United States, with over 250,000 total visitors. As an intersection of contemporary and performing arts, Performa illuminates the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century culture and is committed to encouraging new directions in the field.
As Long as the Blood Beats in our Fountains
Curator Karin Laansoo
Sculpture Kris Lemsalu
Sound and vocals Kitty Florentine
Production design Viktoria Martjanova
Audio technician Federico Bolagno
Lighting Andrew Giugno
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.
Special thanks to Kristina Oras and Erik Liiv.