Kristina Paabus

Kristina Paabus was born and raised in Massachusetts and has also called Tallinn, Providence, Minneapolis, and Chicago home. She studied Fine Arts and Religious Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Fine and Applied Arts at The Estonian Academy of Arts (EAA), and received a BFA and Art History Concentration from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2009, she earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and then moved to Estonia as a Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Artist at the EAA. Kristina has taken part in residencies in the U.S., Iceland, Estonia, and Romania; and has exhibited her work in Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Rosendale, Providence, Reykjavik, Berlin, and Tallinn. Currently, Kristina lives and works in Chicago where she is a faculty member and Graduate Coordinator in SAIC’s Department of Printmedia. This summer Kristina was a resident at ACRE Residency in Steuben, WI.

“In my work, I examine the distinctions of fact and fiction, and the murky areas that lie in between. I am interested in systems of logic, which we as groups and individuals use to enforce perceptions of structure. My investigation into duality, and the often difficult to define spaces that are formed in the “in betweens”, is partially due to my history as a first-generation American. From an early age, I experienced living within two worlds (languages, histories, cultures), and realized the differences formed by specific spaces. I spoke my native Estonian in the privacy of home and family while English was reserved for public situations. This blueprint of delineation keeps me firmly grounded in between, mapping out both sides, simultaneously as a participant and a record keeper.

“Responding to our fast-paced society that is saturated with information, I pay attention the often-overlooked aspects that we take for granted. By mining our cultural and personal histories, I find proof and supply evidence of the forgotten daily events that mark the paradoxical divergence/convergence of self and environment. Through a multidisciplinary approach, I create hybrid spatial conversations that elaborate on constructions that allow us to interact with, and gain control over, our surroundings. These specific systems, such as language, architecture, beliefs, maps, and so on, serve as guides to expose the anatomy of human comprehension. I make work to ask questions and try to find the answers in the process. Through a multidisciplinary approach, I create images, environments, and situations that teeter between reality and illusion. These metaphorical spaces take form in three ways: flat, image-based works (a representation of possibility); objects (reflecting the impossibility to escape their physicality); and installations that combine and juxtapose these elements in order to examine the complex relationships and causal effects that develop from these interactions.”