Kogo gallery is happy to be one of the newcomer galleries that will participate in Italy’s most important contemporary art fair Artissima taking place in Torino this fall. Kogo will be presenting works by Kristi Kongi (EE) and August Krogan-Roley (US). This time the fair takes the form of Artissima Unplugged – exhibitions sharing the theme Frenetic Standstill and curated by Ilaria Bonacossa will be open from 3 to 12 February 2021 in three major museums in Torino.
What could be the alternatives to the Frenetic Standstill that seems to lead to inadequate solutions, both ecologically and psychologically? To understand where to go, one should look back and think about how the past connects with the current situation, where has our past actions and decisions lead us. August Krogan-Roley, interested in the rich history, functions, meanings and visual framework of medieval tapestries and particularly coats of arms for this proposal, makes carpet collages called “Empty Coats” that repurpose heraldry for a secular age. Instead of depicting the associated animals and heraldry of power that is typical with the coat of arms, the artist chooses to focus on barren interiors divided by serene landscapes. His “Empty Coats” each present themselves as a pictorial game. Littered with cues – winding roads to follow, carved out recesses to occupy, and barriers mounted to intrusive vision – they stem from the artist’s ongoing interest in the compositional mechanics of world-building.
How does the human condition emerge within a constant battle through the interior and exterior space? August Krogan-Roley use empty spaces that reflect both the power which has shaped them as well as desire that could occupy them as symbols for nowadays. Kristi Kongi instead discovers all the richness – brightest colours from the garden, sunspots on the wall or sun rays under the trees. She extends and stores those precious moments in the form of painting, connects the aesthetic experience with her emotions and thoughts. Observe, be attentive and sensitive — connect the senses and the mind, and create – the way that is important for making fruitful directions for the future as well as to live more rich lives now. The central theme, material and inspiration of Kong’s art practice is colour. Although Kongi’s works seem, at first glance, to be joyful and energetic, they do not have accidental or solely spontaneous colour expression. The visual language of her paintings, which are easy to quickly define as examples of geometric abstraction, revolves around systemic studies of everyday through light and colour, being in particular analytic and organised. Kongi is a watchful observer, keen on conducting experiments and making intelligent conclusions, whose work results in a canvas or site-specific installation. Her latest series “Is There Any Light And Colour Left?”, mixed media on paper, started in spring during the lockdown. Then she began almost as a diary to express her daily observations, thoughts and feelings. The series brings our focus to the inspiration from aesthetic experience surrounding us and its connections with the richness of the inner world. But it also relates to worries about loss of biodiversity – co-occurrence of the “Frenetic Standstill”. With the current context of finding new normalcies of life in a post-COVID-19 world, as well as a world that is in its “frenetic standstill” in a massive struggle to find true equality, social unrest and advocacy for changing the status quo is needed now more than ever. These two artists are addressing issues that have developed from the canon of art history but are explicitly questioning the symbols of hierarchal powers, frenetic progress and capitalism. They represent attentiveness and care towards the surroundings as well as taking care of one’s inner world. Their works question how are the ideas growing from the comforts of private life connected with human nature’s inherent tribalism?
We thank the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center for supporting our participation.