eva-kotatkova-©Oliver Roura

From the cutting out workshop



Eva Koťátková takes as her central theme the individual’s relationship to normative social structures and institutions, such as governments, schools, or families. In her sculptures, performances, drawings, and collages she gives form to the invisible, disciplining force exerted by rules, conventions, and rituals: cage-like objects, acting as physical restraints for body parts, cut-out illustrations from medical textbooks, and images of people tangled up in strings are recurring motifs in her work.

Poetic, darkly humorous, and occasionally ominous, Koťátková counts Czech surrealism and absurdist literature among her sources of inspiration. Koťátková is struck by the peculiarly poor fit between the world of ideas, theories, rules and codes, and the people who must live with them, struggling to conform, to sit up straight, to follow lessons, abide by set principles. They are often trying, and failing, to break free, and the consequences may be strikingly absurd.

She has designed mad sculptures that double as devices to stop children slumping in their seats, and elegant callipers to keep adults from nodding off in the office. A cross between minimalist art and streamlined appliance, they resemble learning aids or ludicrous restraints that couldn’t possibly work. Sometimes, as is the case in the present work, the object has even become fused with the person.