Kristina Õllek (EE, b. 1989) is a visual artist based in Tallinn, Estonia. She works with photography, video, and installation, focusing on representational processes, geological and ecological matter, and the human-made environment. In her practice, she frequently studies situations where fact and fiction, the synthetic and the natural, or copies and originals intertwine with each other, establishing a sense of hybridity and reconsidered meaning.
Õllek holds both MA and BA degrees from the Estonian Academy of Arts (Fine Arts, Photography), whilst she has also studied at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, and Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee. A laureate of the Estonian Academy of Arts – Young Artist Prize in 2013 and 2016, Õllek was the recipient of the Art Proof Production Grant in 2019.
At Foto Tallinn, Õllek shows a series of new photographic works from her ongoing project Filter Feeders, Double Binds and Other Silicones. Begun in 2019, the project is based on research and personal observations around anthropocentric influences on marine ecology, with a focus on the North Sea. In the installation – comprising photographic and sculptural elements – the artist ‘thinks together’ with the North Sea, providing insight into the changing composition of coastal ecology and marine chemistry. For her new works, Õllek has experimented with growing sea salt crystals on her metal grids, photographs and frames, lending her work another physical layer. These new interventions are a commentary on the sea’s salinity – a growing issue in the Netherlands due to rising sea-levels, where the groundwater is in danger of being infused with sea water.