The Well, 2021, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, photo by Alana Proosa
Curated by Galerina, ICA hosts a double-bill performance night featuring Lacuna
by Teo Ala-Ruona and The Well
by Maria Metsalu.
Together the performances look for ways to make sense of the self in a complex world of signifiers. Pushing the physical and the bodily to various extremes, the shows each process memories and lived experience as an exploration of the ontological.
The Well by Metsalu tells the story of an isolated figure lowered into a well by her four psychoanalysts, where on her leather couch she is tasked with writing to give the world a new structure. She is a composer. She is a magician and an alchemist. Through the narrative story of this tragic protagonist, the non-narrative performance deals with an individual apocalypse in a liminal space. The performance space becomes an erotic mindscape, an internal and secret place, confinement secluded from reality for the misbehaving deviant body, hearing what should not be heard, seeing things that are not there.
Lacuna by Ala-Ruona is a body horror performance and work of auto-fiction that brings together ghostly memories and lived experience, while composing a verbal and musical incantation. “Lacuna” means an opening or a gap. For Ala-Ruona, the word’s interpretation is twofold. It is both a ghost – a parasitic memory of his body before transition – while on the other hand a blissful void free of trauma. Images and experiences emerging from the past are conjured on stage through gestures, words, and screaming, opening a portal into the artist’s interiors. By entering the orifices and holes of the body, viewers are invited into a carnal abyss.
Teo Ala-Ruona is a Helsinki-based performance artist, whose work focuses on speculative somatic fiction and body horror in forms of performances and texts. He explores topics of sex, queer ecology, toxicity and gender, and looks for ways to redefine language and narratives telling of pleasure and intimacy on a toxic Earth. By using his own body as a site for various speculative stories to take place, he experiments on how he can transform himself through fiction, as well as the perspectives from which others look at his body. Ala-Ruona’s work has recently been shown at: Warehouse9, Copenhagen; Drifts-festival Helsinki; Jason Platform, Copenhagen; Takomo Theatre, Helsinki; Baltic Circle Festival, Helsinki; Bangkok Biennial, Bangkok; as well as NAVEL, Gas Gallery and Human Resources, Los Angeles.
Maria Metsalu is an Estonian artist, who graduated from SNDO in Amsterdam in 2016. She creates works that place her own body at the epicentre, regardless of the chosen medium. Metsalu views performative experiences and performing deviance as possibilities through which collective memory can be created, being interested in ways the position of the spectator can be challenged, destabilised or abolished altogether. Her work seeks to advance ambiguities, and proliferate meanings rather than systematise them into a clarity. Metsalu is one of the founding members of Young Boy Dancing Group, and has collaborated with and performed for Tino Sehgal, Michele Rizzo and Gelatin among others. Her solo work has been shown at: Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga; Art In General during Performa 17, New York; Kunstraum, London; Théâtre Nanterre-Amandier, Paris; Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki; Alt_Cph18, Copenhagen; Les Urbaines, Lausanne; ImPulsTanz, Vienna; 3hd Festival, Berlin; and deSingel, Antwerp to name a few.
Lacuna is being supported by the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, The Well by The Estonian Ministry of Culture, The Cultural Endowment of Estonia and The Embassy of Estonia in London.