FOKU – Estonian Union of Photography Artists, Tallinn
FOKU’s solo display, titled Filter Feeders, Double Binds & Other Silicones presents artist Kristina Õllek’s ongoing work (2019 – ) holding the same name. It is based on research and personal observations around anthropocentric influences on marine ecology, with a focus on the North Sea and its filter feeders: blue mussels, oysters and the expanding jellyfish population.
Kristina Õllek lived in the Netherlands between 2018–2020. During this time she developed her interest in the North Sea coastal area and filter feeder organisms that act as filters for polluted water and are therefore also considered to be engineers of the ecosystem. On the Dutch coast, aquacultures such as mussel and oyster farms are a prominent industry, with Zeeland at its center: a province largely below sea level and one of the most man-made regions in The Netherlands. In 1953, a most devastating flood in Dutch history took place there—de Watersnoodramp—after which the Delta Works hydraulic engineering project was constructed, turning the landscape into an artificial and alienating territory. This area also faces another environmental problem – salinity, which is a growing issue in the Netherlands due to rising sea-levels. In her latest work, Õllek is working on growing sea salt crystals on photographs and frames, giving her work another physical layer. In addition, she continues to use materials such as sand, oyster shells and silicone.
The selection of works by the artist shown at the fair is composed of both photographic and sculptural elements. The presentation provides insight into the changing composition of coastal diversity and marine ecosystem.