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Kris Lemsalu, HOLY HELL O, 2018, Jacuzzi tub, ceramics, quilts, mannequins, textiles, dimensions variable.

Kris Lemsalu, HOLY HELL O, 2018, Jacuzzi tub, ceramics, quilts, mannequins, textiles, dimensions variable.

Kris Lemsalu

Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art

Kris Lemsalu staged our passage from womb to tomb as a drama of bewilderment, full of improbable ecstasies and strange metamorphoses. In three installations, each occupying its own room in the Estonian artist’s exhibition “4LIFE,” viewers could feel Lemsalu pushing at the squishy, shifting membrane between the fantastic and the quotidian, as they were guided—as if by some sense-deranging shaman on an LSD-induced rebirthing trip—through the milestones of existence and the shared struggle for meaning.

In HOLY HELL O (all works 2018), psychedelically colored mannequins plunged like Olympic divers into the bubbling murk of a flesh-pink Jacuzzi. A vaginal pearl glistened at the vessel’s edge like some ancient totem of fecundity: a ceramic Venus of Willendorf. Tangled arms draped in white knitted sleeves, hands grasping, circle the tub. They have the manic energy of a mutant midwife beckoning

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