Merike Estna + Maria Metsalu


17. 11.2017
Art in General
145 Plymouth St, Brooklyn, New York

As part of PERFORMA and Art in General’s International Collaboration program, artists Merike Estna and Maria Metsalu will present new performances curated by Kaasaegse Kunsti Eesti Keskus/ Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia (CCAE) Director, Maria Arusoo. The evening is also the opening of the Art in General International Collaboration exhibition Soft Scrub, Hard Body, Liquid Presence, also curated by Arusoo.

Soft Scrub, Hard Body, Liquid Presence observes a shift taking place in the realm of our aesthetic and emotional sensibilities. The exhibition wonders if our over-consumption of virtual space, and submitting to the stress of competition and acceleration has provoked a deep mutation in the psychosphere, it explores the zombified body as a response to today’s evolving societal structures.

Today, individuals suffer under the duress of a continuously fractured and precarious landscape and—even more acutely—an understanding of the self. Looking particularly to the female perspective, the exhibition attempts to address this uncanny, post-accelerationist body in its new surroundings, questioning our state of turmoil, loneliness, and uncertainty surrounding the future.

The exhibition opening runs from 5pm–9pm, including two overlapping performances by the artists:

Merike Estna
Red Herring

Red Herring engages painting as a stage for human interaction. Merike Estna’s practice incorporates what she terms “performative paintings,” with allusions to the digital and the nostalgic, and a romantic reverence for parts of human existence that are mutating, melting, or slipping away. For Red Herring, she serves artist-crafted cocktails, inviting the audience to drink and converse atop her paintings. Inspired by Aleksandr Pushkin’s A Feast in the Time of Plague, Estna plays with our ideas of Romantic forms of representation and social space.

Maria Metsalu
Mademoiselle X

Maria Metsalu uses her body and voice to activate a programmed, sound-responsive installation in Mademoiselle X. The performance is inspired by a psychosis diagnosed in 1880 by French neurologist Jules Cotard, whose patient believed she was organless, dead, and, paradoxically, immortal. Metsalu mobilizes this notion of the body as a complex yet uncomplicated system—a realm where everything could be possible. The performance combines light, music, scenography, movement, and text lifted from video games and sci-fi movies to question the boundaries between reality and virtuality, considering our increasingly desensitized experiences of the surrounding world.

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