The installation “WHEN YOU HAVE THE OBJECT ITSELF IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES / Poppositions” (2017) by Estonian artist Kristina Õllek was gifted to the collection of the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland as a result of a collaboration between Outset Estonia and the Estonian Photographic Art Fair. The museum is one of the most influential institutions devoted to photography in Europe and Switzerland.

The work was chosen by an international jury from the Estonian Photographic Art Fair in 2017, who appreciated the contemporaneity of Kristina Õllek’s work, its technical format and the artist’s academic professionalism. The work has also been included in the museum’s 25th-anniversary exhibition ‘25 Years! Shared Histories, Shared Stories’ which gives an insight into the museum’s collection. 

Kristina Õllek (b. 1989) is a visual artist based in Tallinn, Estonia. She is working in the field of photography, video and installation, with a focus on investigating contemporary visual culture as well as the actual mode of mediation of the representation process. She is interested in stretching out the boundaries of what can we see and use as of an image and space, especially now in the age of rapidly developing and highly manipulative technology. She questions the relations between space, object and image, considering the blurred context of the original and the copy. In her practice, she frequently uses situations when fact and fiction, synthetic and natural, copy and original intertwine with each other and become a hybrid object/matter to obtain new and reconsidered meaning.

Her work is often site-sensitive and analyses the location and the format of exhibition making, questioning the display and the politics of installation in a perspective of a historical museum to an online space and future archaeology. Furthermore, she’s interested in the phenomenon of exhibition documentation as artefacts, notably regarding the way its position has changed in the digital era.

Kristina Õllek has graduated with an MA and BA degree from Estonian Academy of Arts (Fine Arts, Photography), has studied at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2016) and Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee (2012). She’s been the laureate of the Estonian Academy of Arts Young Artist Prize 2013 (BA) and 2016 (MA). Since 2013 she’s the co-founder and member of artist-run space Rundum.

Outset Estonia has supported two conceptually-related productions of mine. Outset’s support was essential in making them happen. The fact that there were live actors and technical complexities added to the production costs and the risks I had to take on. I was so happy when Outset decided to support my first performance and back me at this crucial time of a completely new approach in my work.

Marge Monko, artist