Eva Koťátková’s installations invite us to enter a different kind of world – one where social rules and hierarchies are critically reimagined.
Eva Koťátková’s installations invite us to enter a different kind of world – one where social rules and hierarchies are critically reimagined. Combining sculptures, collages, costumes, texts and sound, her vast and playful scenographies centre the agency of the imagination. A giant bush is given voice; children befriend monsters; animals, plants, objects and people enjoy equal rights. For Koťátková, the imagination is not about reverie. It is a critical tool to envision how the world could otherwise be, freed from the forms of oppression, inequality and violence that keep us captive within normative structures. Often activated through performance and storytelling, her installations present a cosmological worldview ruled by a different set of empathetic relations.
Koťátková’s exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary consists of an entirely new body of commissioned work, produced specifically for two of our large-scale galleries. Storytelling sits at the heart of the exhibition. It centres on the tale of a young giraffe called Lenka, which the artist first discovered as part of her project at the National Gallery in Prague, where she gathered over 200 stories from members of the public.
Lenka was captured in 1954 and was proudly presented as the first ever giraffe at the Prague Zoo. She survived only two years in captivity. Her body was then donated to the National History Museum, only to be exploited as another visitor attraction.
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