Kristina Õllek :: Filtering With Cyanobacteria, Double Binds & Other Blooms ::

ISSP Gallery 15.07–09.09.2022

We cordially invite you to the exhibition opening on 14.07 at 6.00 PM!

Kristina Õllek’s solo exhibition Filtering With Cyanobacteria, Double Binds & Other Blooms at the ISSP gallery is a continuation of her ongoing project Filter Feeders, Double Binds & Other Silicones (2019 – …), based on personal observations and research around anthropocentric influences on marine ecology. With the current exhibition, Õllek is focusing on cyanobacteria and the Baltic Sea, which is one of the most polluted and human-affected seas in the world. 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. For the 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. Comprising photographic and sculptural elements – the artist thinks together with the aquatic and Baltic Sea, its speculative future scenarios and the changing composition of ecology and marine chemistry.


Kristina Õllek (1989, Estonia) 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 (BA degree in 2013, MA degree in 2016; at the Photography Department, Fine Arts). She 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). Kristina Õllek’s works have recently been shown in various international group and solo exhibitions in Estonia and abroad.