Estonian artist holds Baltic bacterial exhibition in Rīga

Take note – story published 1 year ago

Estonian artist Kristina Õllek will hold her first solo exhibition in Latvia, at the ISSP Gallery in Rīga from July 15 - September 3. Filtering with Cyanobacteria, Double Binds & Other Blooms focuses on the Baltic Sea, one of the most polluted seas in the world.

The exhibition by artist Kristina Õllek unites photographic and sculptural elements, based on personal observations and research around anthropocentric influences on marine ecology. Õllek focuses on cyanobacteria and the Baltic Sea: its fragile ecosystem is not only dependent on natural factors, but is heavily impacted by the human population surrounding it (including agricultural run-off nutrients, industrial chemicals, poor water management, waste, heavy marine traffic, underwater noise, etc.). 

“The Baltic Sea is a semi-enclosed slow-moving sea and its recovery capacity is therefore relatively limited. The excess nutrients in the water (fertilizers, etc.), inadequate water treatment, and rising sea temperatures significantly affect the cyanobacterial community, leading to increasing annual cyanobacterial blooms – toxic blue-green algae blooms, which create highly depleted and oxygen-poor areas," said the artist.

Detail of the work "On the Floating Sea with Cyanobacteria, Squishy Jellies and Silicon Solar P...
Detail of the work "On the Floating Sea with Cyanobacteria, Squishy Jellies and Silicon Solar Panels" (2021-2022), Kristina Õllek.

"These dead zones have a major impact on marine ecology. In addition to these annual dead zones, approximately 100,000 km2 of the Baltic's seafloor (¼ of its total area) is also a variable dead zone due to more saline and denser water that remains on the bottom, therefore isolating it from surface waters and the atmosphere,”  she said.

For her solo exhibition at the ISSP Gallery, Kristina Õllek has been working with sea salt, cyanobacteria, bioplastic, silicone, and other organic and inorganic materials that become part of the photographic works and the installation. 

ISSP Gallery is located at Berga Bazārs, Marijas iela 13 k-3 and more inormation is available at

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