GAL..lery presents Fake Extreme Art
Kaarel Kütas,  I Was here
Saturday, 12  november, 2022

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Kaarel Kütas

I Was Here

Galeria Ana Lama will be presenting a performance by Kaarel Kütas (Estonia), project Fake Extreme Art “Making Of #12”, a hybrid of the presentation of a live performance, with an audience, and the creation of a filming device, having as guest director Leonor Guerra.The event will take place in the alternative space Cosmos Campolide Atlético Clube.

The Galeria Ana Lama project will be presenting a performance by Kaarel Kütas (Estonia), project “Making Of #12”, a hybrid of the presentation of a live performance, with an audience, and the creation of a filming device, having as guest director Leonor Guerra.

The event will take place in the alternative space Cosmos Campolide Atlético Clube. Kaarel Kütas’ demonstrations play with a raw side of performance. His interventions come from a tradition of community artwork in which a certain comfortable aesthetic stance is less relevant, as a reaction to artists who are only interested in creating beautiful pieces and being pleasing to the audience. In these communal art environments, the important thing is to create an atmosphere in which people feel free to ask themselves, and others, what each is really thinking, or what each really wants.

The peculiarities of the artistic resources evoked by Kaarel Kütas in his performances mirror a desire for direct speech; what he proposes is explicit; even if the images apparently do not make sense, the emotional content of the performance is well defined.

There is a certain frontality in the use of simple means that aims to turn language into an immediacy laboratory, a fragmented accumulation of moments and images that aim to bring the apparatus closer to a problem, in an aesthetic labyrinth co-developed by the audience. The use of direct speech is amplified by the evocation of political paradoxes present in his condition as an Estonian Artist.

A fly bit my hand. I had a piece of bread in my hand. 

I didn’t understand, it would be a mistake. 

No, I soon understood. The fly was complaining about the lack of butter in the bread.

We know that flies are a kind of autonomous microphones, they listen to our thoughts; 

They even have little front legs to clean the mechanism. 

Some see themselves, dead, in the polyban, but this is nothing more than an open channel in an echo chamber.

As the weather changes and the temperature rises, the insects appear. Although it is not common, it can happen that these little creatures reach our ears. Something as simple as lying on the grass or at the beach on the sand, can become a problem if an insect reaches our ears.

We are not sure who is on the receiving end, but it is always good to know that we are being spied on, it comforts us in our loneliness. When you don’t talk to people much, you begin to realize how important your thoughts are for geopolitics, for the balance of world forces.

The performance he will present in Lisbon, “I Was Here,” Kaarel tells us, “will be sculptural, built in interaction with the public, exploring the result of the marks and traces left on the very fresh materials. It mirrors the actions performed at public construction sites, where people often scratch the fresh cement of buildings under construction.” Kaarel also intends, during his stay, to observe and investigate the city of Lisbon, and the performance focuses on observing gestures that occur in the city and some of the elements that interact with tourists. In this sense, the performance will use a very specific element – cement.  

The flies hardly disguise their intentions. They swirl around pretending to be mistaken, but focused on something that is happening very close to us, something they are obsessed with, but that is hard for us to understand. They quickly put out, they quickly run away. Their whole attitude is compromised.

Insects can also fly into your ear while you are sleeping.

When this happens, the ear’s defense system works. The barrier against external agents is formed by the villi of the ear canal and ear wax, where the insect will probably get stuck and die, perhaps even without my noticing…

Flies are bollocks.

Too much internal dialogues in our heads is bullshit.

They filter it out, the flies. They get into that bullshit, but they have the ability to filter it out, even before the user of their brain.

The flies read our thoughts, the poignant kaleidescopic sides of our disagreements and our best ideas for changing the world, which are impossible to execute.

The flies are on the inside.

The flies, we only see them from the outside, but they lay little ghost eggs inside people’s heads. Flies draw what there is to draw from the dreams and the genius imagination of poor people, sad people, and lonely people.

Some flies are metallic, of a bluish-green that passes for yellow, but they are already making them nickel-plated. It is shameless, in plain sight, this transformation of flies into a kind of robot drones, mechanisms of listening in on internal conversations.

Kaarel Kütas is one of Estonia’s most peculiar performers. His father is a big building contractor in the country, and Kaarel, in his first performance, created a cubicle inside the building his father was building, one of the most important skyscrapers of the year 2000.  His performance is known as “Two Years Walled Up,” a pre- and proto-artistic action during which Kütas was hidden from his family and searched (having constructed a false room in the building). In this performance, Kaarel asserted his sculptural autonomy in the face of a non-artistic and familiar world.

A fly bit my hand. I had a piece of bread in my hand. 

I didn’t understand. It would be a mistake. 

No, I soon understood. 

The fly was complaining about the lack of some condiment in the bread. 

Tulicreme, marmalade or butter. 

Kaarel Kütas, just for curiosity’s sake, was one of the last members of the Monty Python collective before they broke up in 1998, having written most of the script for “The Life of Brian”.

Everyone knows that there is a microphone in every fly, flies that read our thoughts when we are alone.

We face difficulties within this short circuit type of contraction. The freedom we achieved in small family or community nuclei, where people sometimes act like the flies inside our head, the people nearby act like flies.

The flies are evil tools of nanotechnology that are sent to us by aliens or scientists working for technology gurus.

The contradiction is, when we are chased by spy flies that read the thoughts we suffer, when we live in spaces of familiarity, the question one might ask is: who, ultimately, is the receiver of all these voices? The flies hear and make telepathic our will on the whole. But for what and for whom?

Perhaps the receiving mechanism is broken, or the listener of all our conversations is tired, old or dead.

Kaarel Kütas, in Tallinn, Estonia, is one of the inhabitants and animators of the Metropol Gallery. Faced with the inaccessibility and elitism of art environments, such as museums and galleries, the importance of abandoned buildings as spaces for the production of art and public work is beginning to gain importance, and these alternative spaces are strangely nostalgic.

The Metropol Gallery was an abandoned house that several artists transformed, restoring the architecture and creating a residence. This space also hosts a joint project, in which the community of artists interact in a laboratory called “Circus-Art-Theater,” a “clown” laboratory that uses surreal accessories, creating a mix that resembles theater and circus, and that seeks the grotesque.

What I found most interesting in Kaarel’s work (between being a performer, curator, and facilitator at the Metropol Gallery), was a very intense way of questioning issues related to the way we think and present art – how to move from spaces of community complicity, alternative spaces, to others that are colder and more institutional, without losing empathy.

In his performances, what ends up having more importance, for me, is this passage from communal freedom to the cold space of attention of authorial devices in contemporary art – the expectation of the public in relation to a performance and to an author, with everything related to the cult of personality and how this expectation turns into a surprise.

Kütas manages to make this transition with his dexterity as a performer. In the same environment, he receives people and reveals different contexts of empathy, and so the environments he creates can evoke circus, contemporary art, philosophy, politics; reproduced through objects installed and operated by him.

When we see flies, we know we see microphones, only microphones.

Life becomes one big show.

We know we are being watched in a project of flies and nanotechnology and voice recognition….

We know that they are listening to our conversations when we see the flies, but this is actually a good thing, contrary to what you might think, because someone is keeping us company – the receiver of our conversations – someone is keeping us company, and what’s even cuter, we don’t even know who it is.

Besides, all these flies spying on us force us to be economical in our thinking. They can hear us, inside our brains, so we must always think carefully, so as not to annoy the person who is spying on us.

I, for example, no longer fall asleep with bread in my hand.

Bread in my hand, only with butter. To avoid the bite of a frustrated fly.


Ana Lama, Tunis, 3/11/2022


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