THE MACHINE FOR RESTORING EMPATHY
Eva Koťátková's work is based on notions of care and inclusion and presents empathy as a force through which to act and understand our world. When envisioning The Machine for Restoring Empathy, she “imagined a group of humans and non-humans: animals, plants, even objects and machines—all deciding to meet in one place to share and act together. The Machine represents a meeting place and temporary structure to combine these bodies into one temporary organism, one collective and supportive body in which each thing contributes whatever he/she/it can offer.” (ArtForum, interview, Feb 7, 2020). The work consists of a metal skeleton and sewn-together strips of fabric. It is a kind of living organism that encompasses animals, people, plants, objects, and their relationships to each other, and becomes activated through a performance.
Prior to the exhibition, a group of KU Leuven students participated in a storytelling workshop about empathy and mimesis, organized by Eva Koťátková and Prof. Nidesh Lawtoo. The workshop encouraged them to explore their empathic behaviour by sharing and collecting personal stories as well as strategies to tell and share a story or express empathy towards others which were subsequently included in The Machine for Restoring Empathy. During the exhibition, visitors can enter the installation and listen to these stories or engage in a conversation with mediators, inviting you to become part of The Machine for Restoring Empathy even if just for a short while.
2019 - mixed media, performance and installation
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Meyer Riegger
This new iteration of The Machine for Restoring Empathy is a STUK-KU Leuven co-production, and is developed in close collaboration with Prof. Nidesh Lawtoo (KU Leuven, Institute of Philosophy)
°1982, Prague, Czech Republic
Eva Koťátková is interested in the relationship between the realm of the private and personal on the one hand – our dreams, creativity, emotions and engagement – and the public, authoritarian sphere on the other. In her practice, she hints at how we are informed by the codes and social control of institutional structures and societal norms, whilst at the same time pointing to opportunities for thinking and acting freely. Her work was shown in solo exhibitions at many international museums like Kestnergesellschaft (Hanover), Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Copenhagen; both 2019); Kunstverein Hamburg, Pirelli Hangar Bicocca (Milan, both 2018); 21er Haus - Museum for contemporary Art (Wien, 2017), Museum Haus Esters (Krefeld), Centre d’art contemporain (Pougues-les-Eaux; both 2016), Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2014) and Wroclaw Museum of Contemporary Art (2013). Significant group exhibitions include those at Fotogalerie Wien (2020), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2018), Migros Museum (Zurich, 2016), MASP (São Paulo, 2016), Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2015), Kunsthalle Wien (2013) and Budapest and Mucsarnok Kunsthalle (2008). Koťátková's works were additionally presented at the 16th Istanbul Biennale in 2019, Venice Biennial in 2013, 18th Biennale of Sydney in 2012 and Liverpool Biennial in 2010.
The artist has been awarded the Dorothea von Stetten Art Prize, Josef Hvlávka Award and Jindrich Chalupecky Award. Her work is part of numerous public collections such as Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, MIT Boston, Guggenheim New York, Migros Zurich, MoMA New York, Ludwig Museum Köln, Reina Sofia Madrid and Centre Pompidou Paris.
Eva Koťátková lives and works in Prague, she is represented by Galerie Meyer Riegger and Hunt Kastner.