11th Gwangju Biennale
2. 9. – 6. 11. 2016



Flo Kasearu

The short video Uprising (2014) is filmed during roof maintenance work on a building in Tallinn’s old Pelgulinn district, where the artist Flo Kasearu (b. 1985, Tallinn) lives. The video shows the metal being taken off the roof of the artist’s own house and then folded into plane figures, much like children’s paper planes. While tranquility of the space goes hand in hand with formal and visual references to military aggression and surveillance, the high-angle view conveys contradictory feelings of being watched as well as being liberated from geographical borders.

Filmed when the Russian air force violated Estonia’s air space, a country which reached independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the work responds to the heightened levels of paranoia created by the media. Working in a variety of media, from performance and interactive events to interventions in public space, Kasearu critically engages with her immediate surroundings, questioning the role of art in society. She pays special attention to the absurd and yet frightening state of the political climate in today’s world.

The site of Uprising is the Flo Kasearu House Museum, the wooden house the artist inherited and transformed into an institution dedicated to herself and her work in 2013. Extremely playful and critical, the Flo Kasearu House Museum is an attempt at self-institutionalization. The museum includes artworks, archives, a museum shop, and a café. There are also tenants temporarily living in the building, which is not easy to maintain but provides the artist with an income.

The work humorously draws upon the tradition of historic house museums, such as the Sigmund Freud Museum in London or the more recently opened Louise Bourgeois house in New York. The project not only began to house most of the artist's output, putting her in control of the processes of the exhibition, representation, and conservation of her works, but simultaneously serves as a physical manifestation of her thinking about artistic production in conditions of nationalism and gentrification. AM


– WOMEN DYNASTY. I have grown up as a successor of a dynasty of strong women.

– CLIMATE. Living in the cold and dark Estonian climate, one has to work hard to get warm. From time to time, art makes me even sweat.

– CARS. Boyfriends with cars enable me to do bigger artworks and be fast and furious.

– NATURAL. I make art out of personal situations and social needs. I try to look at my biography objectively, as well as the different important real-life experiences it contains, such as economic crises around my family, death, birth, inheriting a one-hundred-year-old house, etc. While having to deal with these issues, artworks are formed.

– MEDIA. As much as I don't like media I also appreciate it. Frequently I find relevant contexts and links to my works in the news.

– COLLABORATIONS. Since participating in the University of the Arts Berlin’s Freieklasse, I have been working, apart from my solo projects, on many different interdisciplinary art projects (including with architects, with residents of women’s shelters, etc.).