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Cries in Concrete, Curses Curbstones, Dreams in Drywall, Rests in Rainfall

Helena Keskküla


2 September 2023
5 am – 8:30 pm
Woldstrand, Zeewolde (Map)

Free Entrance

Curator: Roos Gortzak

In June 2020, a runestone erected on the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, to celebrate the family of Koit. As runestones are uncommon for this particular landscape, Keskküla was intrigued by this gesture of her great-uncle’s son, and it led her to embark onto an almost obsessive journey of learning how to shape stones. During her research, Keskküla emerged herself in Estonian mythology, and read about sacrificial stones and boulders that the legendary Estonian hero Kalevipoeg carried and threw around.

Over the course of the two years that followed, Keskküla experimented with the carving of large boulders. During that carving, an image of two women accompanied by two heavy boulders on a basketball court emerged in her mind. This vision formed the point of departure for a site-specific performance that includes three performers and four stones. A thorough investigation into possible sites for the performance ultimately led Keskküla to a basketball court situated on the Wold beach in Zeewolde, Flevoland.

On September 2, from sunrise to sunset, the performance Cries in Concrete, Curses Curbstones, Dreams in Drywall, Rests in Rainfall took place at the Woldstrand in Zeewolde. In the midst of the boulders, performers Lidwien Ponsioen, Rose Akras, and Dianthus activated the site through the durational and laborious production of concrete, tear-shaped objects that accumulated over the course of the performance. Persistence, joy and fatigue informed the work as the day progressed, which is why the public was encouraged to attend the performance for a long period of time, to slow down, and perhaps even to spend several hours with the work, to see it grow and shift back and forth from a site of production to a mythological destination.

Cries in Concrete, Curses Curbstones, Dreams in Drywall, Rests in Rainfall | Helena Keskküla

Where did these boulders come from? What is their history? Some say they were symbols of fertility, others believe they function merely to mark borders. We might never know.

Cries in Concrete, Curses Curbstones, Dreams in Drywall, Rests in Rainfall was be presented in dialogue and collaboration with Land Art Flevoland, in whom Keskküla and Vleeshal have found a partner with expert knowledge about environmental art in the Netherlands.

Helena Keskküla (1992) is an Estonian artist working mainly with video, performance and installation. She uses humour,a play on insecurities, and the notion of failure to address more universal topics. In the last three years, she has mainly focused on mythology and stone carving, which she combines with performance and construction materials. She graduated from the Estonian Art Academy in 2015 and the Fine Arts Department of the Sandberg Institute at Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2021. She is the 2023 recipient of KKV-Bohüslan stone scholarship and was selected to represent Estonian artists at the ISCP Residency in New York.

Cries in Concrete, Curses Curbstones, Dreams in Drywall, Rests in Rainfall is a commission by Roos Gortzak, director of Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art, Middelburg, the Netherlands. Martha Jager is assistant curator for this project, and did invaluable work over the course of these two years.



Hop to Hope, a series of new works commissioned by Vleeshal

During the corona pandemic, the international nomadic program of Vleeshal could not take place as it was planned. Vleeshal transformed this program into a series of three commissions, which were granted to Mounira Al Solh, Helena Keskküla, and Rory Pilgrim. These artists were given the opportunity to develop new work, in dialogue with Roos Gortzak and Martha Jager. These new works will be presented in the following two years.

Thanks to: Roos Gortzak, Martha Jager, Luuk Vulkers, Martine van Kampen (Land Art Flevoland), Artwell Residency, Ruud Houtkooper

    Financially supported by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and science and the Municipality of Middelburg.