Eva Koťátková is a young artist who won the Jindřich Chalupecký Award in 2007. With her playful but superficial way she examines the role and position of the individual in the social system and personal environment in which he or she interacts on a daily basis. Through any deviation from a balanced state a series of causalities are put into motion that return in a complicated way to a new equilibrium. Koťátková sees in the viewer a friend that she initiates into her variegated world that is, however, someway limited. Rules, rituals, stereotype and isolation all prevent a sincere and open view. Owing to her generally shared theme of children, education and group behaviour, the viewer is easily pulled into her world and can thus assume her perspective. Despite the diverse nature of the media she uses (drawing, performance, sculpture, installation), her work is distinct for its innocence and suppressed mischief.
By reconstructing events she does not primarily attempt to examine the medium or the transformation of reality, but to examine the change in behaviour of the participants themselves. In her action Red Table (2006-7) young children were themselves to imitate in an artificially created situation as closely as possible the situation that took place. The Way to School project exhibited in the Václav Špála Gallery in 2008 is structured in a similar way. Koťátková's original plan was to "go back to school" and spend time learning with children their tuition. This gradually developed into as series of parallel themes, though the primary principle remained unchanged. The difference between her presence and that of the pupils could be found in their different social roles. Koťátková changed the exhibition space into a basic-school type building during the communist years, its statues (schoolbag made of wood, archive for drawings, a construction for seating so that hands would be at the correct level) resonated with drawings of a comic nature. In one of the actions in the Way to School she had the pupils join hands and embrace the school, and she applied a similar formula on her Art Education at Karlin studios (2008), in which she used participants and viewers as a principle of construction. The artist often acted as a mere director of improvisational theatre that imposes rules and waits to see in which way the actors themselves build upon the foundation. Her sculptures and installations are similarly independent, although she opts for a conceptual approach in creating them. More direct and personal are her drawings.
The project that she exhibited in the final round of the Chalupecký Award entitled Behind, between, over, under, in (the room), (2007) examined and crossed the border of personal space and the conventional movement within it. The artist closed herself for several days in her flat and, partially using actions of Jiří Kovanda-like simplicity, gradually gave it new functions and meanings.
Her recent works have focused on questions of obligations and punishment connected to childhood. Her series of objects Home Prison (2009) illustrate the feelings of (not only) pupils sitting at a desk full of texts and longingly looking out the window to where friends are... In an exhibition at Arge Kunst in Bolzano entitled Dictates (2009) she combined her hitherto "school" projects into one continuous exhibition. Koťátková creates art replete with energy, playfulness and ideas; she opens her world, offers it, but doesn't force it.
text: Markéta Kubačáková, 2009