Estonian Artist Flo Kasearu Mixes Humor and Politics at Temnikova & Kasela

Jun 3, 2016 10:27PM

With a fiercely conceptual approach accompanied by a heavy dose of humor, Flo Kasearu refuses to adhere to a single medium, be it video, sculpture, performance, drawing, or photography. What unites her practice is not an aesthetic style but a tone: Her work brings a quirky and absurdist point of view to even the most serious of subjects.

The Estonian artist was most recently on view at Art Brussels 2016, where, alongside the conceptual “artwork enterprise” Visible Solutions LLC, her work was displayed by the Estonian gallery Temnikova & Kasela.

There, Kasearu presented her series “Fears of Museum Director,” a group of 27 somewhat crudely drawn worst-case scenarios for a museum director. In some, the museum becomes destroyed by a natural disaster such as a tornado. Perhaps more frightening are those situations in which the museum is closed not by nature but by sociopolitical forces. In one, the museum is “for sale,” presumably due to the pressures of a capitalist economy. Another finds the museum under siege by a tank of unknown nationality.

One of the most powerful of these images, however, sees the museum converted into a mosque. Rather than partaking in Europe’s rampant islamophobia, Kasearu seems to subtly indict the fears Europeans have regarding the ongoing refugee crisis.

Apropos of her sociopolitical bent, Kasearu has been known to take her practice beyond the gallery space. Case in point: the “Flo Kasearu House Museum,” in which the artist turned her own living space into a museum during the summer of 2013. Renovations on Kasearu’s home were then converted into a constellation of works Kasearu called “Uprising.”

The focal point of the project was a video Kasearu made of workers stripping metal from her roof. The workers then folded the metal into oversized paper airplanes, thereby transforming the domestic into the militaristic. Kasearu placed some of these metallic planes in public spaces, like relics of a forgotten war. Playful as Kasearu’s practice is, she comprehends art’s potential power.

—A. Wagner

See more artists from Temnikova & Kasela on Artsy.