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Interview by Guendalina Piselli

Krõõt Juurak is an Estonian artist whose work tends to challenge the traditional borders and stereotypes of choreography and performance. Her projects include performances, presentations, texts, workshops and mood shift and they are addressed to both human and non-human audience.

For the upcoming edition of Live Arts Week she will present at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna the work “Bad Mood”, an artwork in format of a performative condition that will influence the people in the institutional space.

wednesday 18 april – 10am>6.30pm
thursday 19 april – 10am>10pm
friday 20, saturday 21 april – 10am>6.30pm

MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna

We asked some questions to Krõõt Juurak —

ATP: For the upcoming seventh edition of Live Arts Week in Bologna, you will present at MAMbo your piece “Bad Mood”, born in 2013 out of your participation at the exhibition ”Three Artists Walk into a Bar”, which you then brought into galleries, exhibition spaces and art fairs. What does it mean to bring a performance based on immateriality in a public institution like MAMbo?

Krõõt Juurak: We tend to forget that MAMbo as every other institution is based on immateriality and performance, the “performance” of the people who run it. Just because they have large impressive buildings doesn’t mean those buildings run the institution. Bringing this “performative condition” to MAMbo feels to me like addressing the everyday immateriality of it. A bad mood can impact MAMbo as much as it can impact anything else.

ATP: The ‘bad mood’ is a very difficult state to describe, especially from the point of view of the subject who feels it.
It’s easy to talk about it in technical terms, but it is almost impossible to express what you feel and define its causes. Which consequences does this aspect of untranslatability have on your performative actions?

KJ: Indeed, bad mood is quite obscure, it gives no explanations, its expression is hardly visible to a spectator. Bad mood requires very little effort. It perform itself so to say, performing bad mood means in fact that you stop making the efforts you usually do to be in a positive or happy state. At least that’s what it’s like for me.

ATP: You treat the ‘Bad Mood’ almost as real material, like a sculptor would use marble for its artworks. But, unlike marble, the ‘bad mood’ is a material that embraces both the physical and the mental exhibition space, creating a certain atmosphere. The public is informed about the performative actions through an handout. Which reactions do you usually expect from people?

KJ: Some people search for the bad mood, they find it hard to believe or even upsetting that this work isn’t readily available for them to look at. In a sense this type of visitor enters the work as subjects. There are other visitors who see the bad mood everywhere, for example even when they encounter a smiling person they assume that that person is in a passive-agressive state. People also spread the work as rumors, the stories usually get exaggerated each time they get told. For example, I heard back a story about how I had shouted at a curator during a public talk, while in reality I had only asked an innocent question.

ATP: “Bad Mood” questions the central role of the artist’s body in the performance, and your performances for pets turn upside down the traditional idea of what the public is. These are elements that seem to bring out the artist from spaces dedicated to art such as galleries and museums. What is the artist’s responsibility in this kind of context?

KJ: I might have to disagree here. Rather than bringing the artist out of the art spaces, these works might attempt to bring the galleries and museums a little bit out of themselves. So for example when a museum opens its doors to dogs on a weekend, they have expanded their identity as a museum to include non-humans. “Bad Mood” addresses the fact that an art space consists of space as much as it consists of arts, not to mention people.

ATP: In your thesis you mentioned that being in a bad mood for a month for “Three Artists Walk into a Bar” then conditioned your attitude even after the end of the event. After five years, do you still feel influenced by your own material?

KJ: I guess it has become somehow part of my character – when everyone expects you to behave a certain way, you are quite likely to behave that way. I guess all of my works have somehow integrated themselves into my personality. And the other way round.

ATP: Your works question the definition of performance and choreography, damaging their common ground, like the public itself.  I am thinking about “Animal Jokes (For Animals)” (which you presented again with Xing) where the public was both human and non-human.
What does it mean to work without referring to a traditional public?

KJ: As an artist and performer I always have an imaginary audience in my mind, for whom I create work. The default audience that sits in my head is middle class german-speaking and not in a particularly good mood. It might be that I have invented these other types of audiences to escape that default audience in my head and with that that default mode of viewing and seeing art.

Krõõt Juurak - Bad Mood

Krõõt Juurak – Bad Mood

Krõõt Juurak Bad Mood
MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna
mercoledi 18 aprile h 10.00>18.30
giovedi 19 aprile h 10.00>22.00
venerdi 20, sabato 21 aprile h 10.00>18.30

performative state, produzione Xing/Live Arts Week/MAMbo

Bad Mood è una ‘condizione performativa’, un umore. Durante Live Arts Week, quest’opera sarà esposta a MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, condizionando le attitudini dei soggetti coinvolti all’interno del museo e lo sguardo del pubblico. Focolaio di potenziale contagio, il Cattivo Umore può diffondersi e includere chiunque. Bad Mood è stato concepito nel 2014 all’interno del De Appel Curatorial Program, per un’esposizione priva di uno specifico spazio espositivo e senza budget intitolata Three Artists Walk into a Bar. A questa sollecitazione l’artista ha risposto offrendo il proprio stato d’animo come opera. Per Live Arts Week Bad Mood si attua nella sede istituzionale di MAMbo e, più diffusamente, tra lo staff del museo per la durata del festival. Per ulteriori informazioni, si prega di leggere il testo nel catalogo intitolato Bad Mood.

Krõõt Juurak è artista trasversale, performer e coreografa estone di Tallinn, basata a Vienna. Ha studiato coreografia in Olanda allo ArtEz-Arnhem Institute of the Arts, e arti visive alla Gerrit Rietveld Academie e al Sandberg Institute di Amsterdam. Attiva dal 1998 on-e-off-stage, realizza performance, presentazioni, testi, workshop, che sfidano ogni volta le definizioni di coreografia e performance. Nel suo variegato campo di attuazione, affronta temi come il camouflage, la non autonomia, l’ovvio, rivolgendosi ad un pubblico non esclusivamente umano. Ha presentato il suo lavoro in diverse forme e contesti tra cui Mindaugas Triennial, Contemporary Art Center CAC Vilnius, ImPulsTanz Vienna, de Appel Amsterdam, Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen Innsbruck, Tallinn Art Hall, deSingel Antwerp, Tanzquartier Vienna, Kunstverein Langenhagen. Ha realizzato performance e ‘performative conditions’ come Bad MoodInternal ConflictLook Look (con Anne Juren), Once UponRide the Wave Dude (con Mårten Spångberg), PresentationThe Place of the GraveAnimal Jokes (for Animals) & Performances for Pets (entrambe con Alex Bailey).
www.kr66t.wordpress.com
www.performancesforpets.ne