Fotograf Magazine

Eva Koťátková

Different time periods and different generations bring new issues. But what about the old ones – still present and still urgent issues? Foucault’s analysis of repression and power is compulsory reading today, but the reasons why it was written still persist. The relations between the structured society and so-called anarchy are closely examined by Eva Koťátková. To her, the human body is the home of hidden aggression, learnt patterns of behaviour, and defensive reflexes. Koťátková proves that individual problems are not problems of individuals, but the consequences of enforcement methods used by the society. She is not interested only into people, but gives a voice to animals, plants, organisms, and objects as well. With surprisingly radical illustrations, backed up by her research, Koťátková combines what was left of the avant-garde, the current, often feminist theories and activism to create large exhibition “machines” and small details. She cuts out pictures, glues clippings and draws pictures to make collages based on the psychoanalytic tradition, dreams, fragmentarization, deconstruction and construction and openly reminiscent of the Czech interwar avant-garde (Štýrský, Teige, and Toyen). She also creates large installations and static performances where subtle changes of postures represent the stiffening of bodies in the globalized system of alienated or isolated work, rest, sleep, movement, time, and what we call the nature. These creations share a kind of subliminal theme – the concern over the established forms of art presentation, exhibitions and galleries that the author applies to areas of social engagement. The frustration of the artist meets the frustration of the activist. Eva Koťátková, together with Barbora Kleinhamplová, has been trying to cope with this long-standing problem by initiating the establishment of an institute dealing with the causes of social anxiety. The two artists see the anxiety not like a diagnosis that weakens the individual, but rather as a shared experience that can stimulate people. Various social initiatives and individuals spend so much energy to promote various ways of functioning in many fields that they do not have the strength to join forces in an interdisciplinary approach – and they often do not understand each other since they do not speak the same language. Together with her colleagues, Eva Koťátková seeks connect them so that art is not isolated from active behaviour, all alone in art institutions.

Edith Jeřábková