Kristina Õllek's exhibition Filtering with Cyanobacteria, Double Binds & Other Blooms to open at ISSP Gallery

  • 2022-07-07

From July 15 to September 3 the solo exhibition Filtering with Cyanobacteria, Double Binds & Other Blooms by Estonian artist Kristina Õllek will be on view at the ISSP Gallery in Riga, focusing on the Baltic Sea, one of the most polluted seas in the world. Opening of the exhibition – July 14 at 6.00 PM.

The exhibition by artist Kristina Õllek unites photographic and sculptural elements, based on personal observations and research around anthropocentric influences on marine ecology. Õllek focuses on cyanobacteria and the Baltic Sea: its fragile ecosystem is not only dependent on natural factors, but is heavily impacted by the human population surrounding it (including agricultural run-off nutrients, industrial chemicals, poor water management, waste, heavy marine traffic, underwater noise, etc.). 

“The Baltic Sea is a semi-enclosed slow-moving sea and its recovery capacity is therefore relatively limited. The excess nutrients in the water (fertilizers, etc.), inadequate water treatment, and rising sea temperatures significantly affect the cyanobacterial community, leading to increasing annual cyanobacterial blooms – toxic blue-green algae blooms, which create highly depleted and oxygen-poor areas. These dead zones have a major impact on marine ecology. In addition to these annual dead zones, approximately 100,000 km2 of the Baltic's seafloor (¼ of its total area) is also a variable dead zone due to more saline and denser water that remains on the bottom, therefore isolating it from surface waters and the atmosphere,” further explains the artist.For her solo exhibition at the ISSP Gallery, Kristina Õllek has been working with sea salt, cyanobacteria, bioplastic, silicone, and other organic and inorganic materials that become part of the photographic works and the installation, acquiring another physical layer and materiality with its own agency. 

Kristina Õllek (1989) is a visual artist who lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia. She is working in the field of photography, video and installation, with a focus on investigating representational processes, geological and ecological matter, and the human-made environment. In her practice, she uses a research-based approach, while also incorporating her own fictitious and speculative perspectives. Õllek has graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts, and has also studied at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam (2016) and Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee (2012). She has twice been the laureate of the Estonian Academy of Arts Young Artist Prize, in 2013 (BA) and 2016 (MA). Her works can be found in private and public collections (e.g Estonian Art Museum, Estonia; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; European Central Bank art collection, Germany). 

ISSP has been operating in the field of contemporary photography for 14 years, creating an active photography environment in Latvia, educating the young generation of Latvian photography artists and promoting international exchange. With the opening of the gallery in Berga Bazārs, ISSP has become a key location on the cultural map of Riga – the only space dedicated to contemporary photography in Latvia.

ISSP Gallery is located at Berga Bazārs, Marijas iela 13 k-3, Riga, Latvia

Mon, Sun closed

Tue. 12.00 – 18.00 

Wed 12.00 – 20.00 

Thu, Fri, Sat. 12.00 – 18.00 

The exhibition is supported by: State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga City Council, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Union of Photography Artists (FOKU).