I work with everyday stories and situations, re-evaluating
them, transforming them, locating them within new coordinates,
given by my personal experience and biography. . . .
~ Eva Kot'atkova, Artist Statement
Work by Prague-born Eva Kot'atkova is the subject of a noteworthy exhibition at MIT's List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge Massachusetts. The artist's first solo show in the United States, "Eva Kot'atkova: Out of Sight" continues through July 26 (it opened May 22). For the exhibition, curated by the center's Henriette Huldisch, Kot'atkova created a number of new groups of works, including collages, drawings, installations, and sculptures, all of which reference her long and abiding interest in and exploration of how the individual relates to his or her social structures, codes and conventions, traditions and rituals, whether imposed by government, school, or family.
Kot'atkova's art makes use of a wide variety of materials, from illustrations cut from medical textbooks and suspended on string, to doors without visible supports, to objects such as cages that restrain the body or serve to exclude and isolate, to tools such as saws and pincers that can be used to harm. Its physical form underscores not only a sense of profound vulnerability but also of fear and fragmentation, and even invisibility. Similarly, the works' titles—Image atlas of Johan, a boy who cut a library out of the clinic into pieces (2014), for example, or Words Staying in the Mouth (Klara's Letter Box)—convey consequences of control or its total absence, and how the two are in tension, always. The narratives Kot'atkova creates reside in the depths of the imagination, source of ideas both freed and constrained.
Below is an interview with the award-winning artist at the 55th International Art Exhibition (Venice Biennale) in 2013; Kot'atkova talks in particular about her installation Asylum.
Read a review of the MIT exhibition by Cate McQuaid in The Boston Globe, "Eva Kot'atkova Examines Balance of Imagination, Socialization".
On June 20, in conjunction with its exhibition, List Visual Arts Center sponsored a screening of Frederick Wiseman's extraordinary if disturbing documentary Titicut Follies of 1967. (An excerpt from the black-and-white film, which concerns the state prison Bridgewater State Hospital and its treatment of the criminally insane, may be watched on Vimeo. Described as "the first film to be banned in America for a reason other than obscenity or national security", Titicut Follies was shown on PBS in 1992. A DVD was issued in 2007.)
The Juan Miro Foundation, Barcelona, is the venue for Kot'atkova's "The birth of the object", on view through September 6. (See image.)
Eva Kot'atkova Resume (pdf)