Jass Kaselaan (1981) is an artist, who combines sculpture, sound and other mediums in his work creating powerful spatial installations. His works contain an existential spirituality, bringing up questions about religion and science in relation to technological progress, but also about the relation between animals and humans. Kaselaan looks at life in its totality, not delimiting it to solely an earthly existence. Life, death, resurrection, transmigration of souls, faith, memory, family – are the pinpoints of his work, but not physically perceptible constraints.
One of the first exhibitions by Kaselaan, in which he dealt with the otherworldly, “Return You Children of Man” (2010), depicted a symbolic cemetery in which you could move between the crosses and listen to Chopin’s funeral march from the megaphones. The triptych at his personal exhibition “Transmigration of Souls” (2011) depicted the journey of souls to the otherworld. Although the composition has sacral connotations, the whole layout derives from technocratic positioning – the transmigration of souls is carried by mechanical noises and the otherworld shines as a giant projector lamp. The previous, so-called white period ends with the personal exhibition “Light is our Strength” (2011) – Kaselaan exhibits a mine-looking black-coloured perpetuum mobile. The “black period” is continued by the exhibition “Garden” (2012), in which the space, heated by intensive projector lamps are highlighting a cobbled wooden construction in the middle.
Several of Kaselaan’s personal exhibitions are characterised by an intensive spatial experience – the distance between the spectator and the work is reduced to a minimum. On several occasions, the artist has expanded the exhibition space through photographs on the walls: in the exhibition “Objects in The Field” (2013), Kaselaan exhibited photos of snowy fields, in “Garden” he showed images of the skeletons of prehistoric animals. The portraits of larger-than-life dolls made of concrete in the installation “The Square of Dolls” (2014), were framed by photos of panel houses.
Kaselaan has also collaborated with sculptor Edith Karlson. The work “Toys” (2017) exhibited at their joint exhibition “Hudnoi”, Kaselaan further developed his interest in toys, creating memorials for a childhood – for the ephemeral moment in space-time. Slightly crumpled and gnarly looking toys have obviously lost their has-been significance, but still they bring out the warm memories of childhood.
Jass Kaselaan graduated from Tartu Art College in 2006 and defended his master’s degree at the Estonian Arts Academy in the sculpture and installation department in 2008. He has been awarded with Anton Starkopf’s stipend (2011), Kristjan Raud’s award (2014) and Köler Prize grand prix (2014).