Essi Kausalainen

Works with Live Art Danmark
2012 “I and other Letters” at Samtalekøkken
2015 “Carnation & Quartz” at Live Art for Kids in Kristiansstad
2021 “I and other letters”, performance recipe for Playing Up
2021 Performance opera “B” at Friisland

I and other Letters
For Samtalekøkkenet September 2012, Essi presented “I and other Letters”. She begins by measuring and occupying the rather large, white space by rolling slowly all around it in an office chair. Later, she arranges some flowers in a vase on a table, which she then drags diagonally across the floor. Finally, she jumps onto the office chair, this time lying stretched out across the arm rests, planking and speedily rolling towards the audience. A minimal work with a fascinating change of dynamics.

In 2021, Essi contributed to our project “Performance Recipes” with this playing card that allows participants to create their own version of “I and other letters”:

Carnation & Quartz
For the second edition of our “Live Art for Kids” festival in 2015, Essi presented “Carnation & Quartz”, a performance about plants and their communication in collaboration with Dagmar Vestergaard Friis. Dagmar enters the space first, walking backwards, wearing a backpack and dragging a branch behind her, which, it seems, caught the attention of some otherworldly green being that follows her closely. Crouching very close to some audience members, the riddle is solved as Essi slowly emerges from under a green blanket. Kneeling across from one another, a mesmerizing exchange of gestures and small objects between adult and child proceeds, holding the audience in its spell and spreading throughout the space, until eventually they both leave the room, following one another in the same way they entered, minus the blanket.

After the performance we asked the kids to draw the performance as a starting point for public discussion.

Essi joined us again as one of the first artists to exhibit new work at our project space Friisland in a variety of media, and with a variety of opportunities for guests to interact. During our “Anti Kulturnat” she showed a live performance-opera for 3 voices called “B”, which was performed live by four performer-singers inside a round fabric cylinder Essi had created. The cylinder remained as part of our exhibition “Performance/Textile” and the site of a VR performance. This time audiences of one were invited to climb inside it, where they followed a site specific VR-performance by three of the performers of Essi’s opera.

Performance Opera “B”, live version.

About the Artist
Essi Kausalainen lives and works in Helsinki. She is a visual artist who bases her artistic practice on the sensuous capacities of the body and its philosophic and ethical materiality. In her work, the body is approached as an open ended process made in, and shaped by, the complex relations with other beings, situations and environments. With the help of fabulation and play, Kausalainen aims to escape the hierarchical and linear ways of thinking and operating.

Essi Kausalainen’s work has been recently exhibited and performed in venues such as Somerset House (London), Bildmuseet (Umeå), la Galerie (Noisy-le-Sec), kim? (Riga) and Malmö Moderna Museet.

Her website contains lots more info on her work.

Om liveart_dk was founded in 2004 in Copenhagen to promote the discussion, documentation and development of live art in Denmark. The organisation is equally inspired by the imaginative and entertaining English Live Art tradition as by the theoretical and political German theatre tradition. We have organised 10 large international festivals of Live Art for kids and adults since 2004, and over 40 discussion events, books, video series, symposia and more in the field of live art, performance art, art criticism and documentation. We collaborate with theatres, music venues, art museums and festivals in Denmark and internationally.