Artist: Eva Kotátková
Venue: Maccarone, New York
Exhibition Title: a mouse’s home is the snake’s body
Date: May 3 – June 18, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist and Maccarone, New York
Two large figures are having a phone conversation. While one of them seems to speak into several phones at the same time, the other hangs up — not wanting to communicate. It is hard to say if this is because he or she is not in the mood for talking, or because the cables and wires tie his, her body too strongly; not letting the voice come out and be heard.
A figure hanging upside down on a ladder is disconnected into pieces. We do not know whether it is the gymnastics or the schizophrenic nature of the body that causes this fragmented state.A large cage-like head suffers a migraine, possibly caused by the tight scarf covering the eyes. A body is trapped in a fence. While the trunk and the arms are stacked in between the rails, the legs have time to escape, but without a head they do not know where to go.
A boy looks into the mirror. It seems that he sees his reflection for the first time and curiously scrutinizes his body.A snake rolls like a garden pipe or grows a special room in his body to accommodate a mouse. Another mouse is caged. The cage outlines the mouse’s body, not allowing it to move or turn.
Chairs are spread in the space as if for a group to participate in a therapy session. The therapy seems to cause the bodies to disconnect into arms, hands, trunk and legs as well as other body parts or their extensions. A camera on legs observes them from behind the corner reminiscent of some strange animal.
Everything seems to be under supervision. All the figures and objects seem fused and twisted
— Eva Koťátková, 2016
Maccarone is pleased to present the first New York gallery exhibition of Prague-based artist Eva Koťátková, a mouse’s home is the snake’s body
Koťátková has been making collage, performance, film, sculpture, and multimedia installations for the last ten years — often synthesizing several of these media together at once. Born in Prague in 1982, Koťátková was a young girl during the fall of the Communist Party in her country. Thus, her practice has long dealt with institutional contexts, ideologies, and codes, responding to the possibilities and impossibilities of personal space and the physical limits imposed by the rules associated with such frameworks.
In her numerous shows across Europe and in the States, Koťátková has staged the relationship between human beings, ideas, and objects in psycho-physical dramas rife with the agency of Surrealism and an eastern European sensibility. However idiomatic in expression, there is a universal force to Koťátková’s practice, applicable to any strict system and the metaphor of suppression, exposing power structures and materializing the feeling or situation of mental restriction, making visible that which is invisible.
For her first exhibition at Maccarone, Koťátková presents a new body of work developed through art workshops she conducts with child patients at Prague’s main psychiatric hospital. Using collage, sculpture, text, and audio, Koťátková bodies forth her central artistic concern: individuals isolated within social structures that they cannot assimilate into. Her tableau makes material and renders visible the conventions of restriction. In collecting these patients’ stories and drawings, Koťátková’s installation catalogs the unfolding narrative told above.
The steel sculptures on view throughout the gallery, in varying scale, are inspired by the children’s drawings symbolizing their fears — snakes, fences, and fractured bodies are primary motifs. Koťátková’s figures inhabit the exhibition space and turn it into an enlarged notebook through which the viewer can walk. In essence, there is no division between a collage and an object, lines and figures step into the space and onto the paper. Inner states are given a variety of depictions from staged scenes to abstracted, often tangled forms or phantoms.
This group of works builds upon Koťátková’s recent large-scale exhibition, Two-Headed Biographer and the Museum of Ideas, at the Prádelna Gallery in the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital. This presentation took place over several months in the form of a series of installations as well as performances and tableau vivants that simultaneously questioned both the institution of the clinic and the mental worlds of the patients within. It also relates to her multimedia piece, “Asylum,” in the 2013 Venice Biennale’s The Encyclopedic Palace, which was devoted to dreams and hallucinations.